Aggressive Prostate Cancer Possibly Influenced by Height, Weight

Every 10 cm increase in waist size found to increase risk of high-grade prostate cancer by 13%.

A new study published by BMC Medicine suggests that the development of aggressive prostate cancer and disease-related mortality may be linked to height and weight.

The authors explored the association of height and obesity in patients with prostate cancer by examining different tumor characteristics and mortality. The innovative aspect of this study was the emphasis on cancer sub-types, according to the authors. The investigators determined the stage and grade of the tumors for each patient.

Cancer that spread was considered advanced, while contained tumors were considered localized. The histological grade of the cancer (high, intermediate, or low) refers to how abnormal tumor cells appear. Previous research has grouped the stage and grade of the tumor as aggressive or non-aggressive cancer, according to the study.

Included in the study were data from 141,896 men, with 7024 patients with prostate cancer. Of patients with prostate cancer, 934 deaths occurred.

Through the new approach, the authors discovered that taller men and those with a higher body mass index (BMI) may be at an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer and disease-related mortality, according to the study.

Notably, the authors found that every 10 cm increase in waist size was linked to a 13% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer and an 18% increased risk of cancer-related mortality.

The investigators also found that every additional 10 cm in height was linked to an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer by 21% and an increased risk of cancer-related death by 17%, according to the study.

“There was evidence of heterogeneity by tumour [sic] grade, with height being positively associated with high-grade disease, but not low-intermediate-grade disease. Taller height was also associated with a higher risk for prostate cancer death,” the authors wrote.

Although height cannot be altered, these findings provide additional evidence that obesity and high BMI may be linked to cancer development.

“The results emphasise [sic] the importance of studying risk factors for prostate cancer separately for advanced stage and high grade tumours [sic],” said lead author Aurora Perez-Cornago, PhD. “There is nothing men can do about their height but at least it is now more evident that they may reduce their risk of aggressive prostate cancer by having a healthy weight. However, further research is still needed to understand possible mechanisms, such as hormonal alterations, and to establish whether the associations we have seen are causal.”