Smoking Doubles Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence After Surgery

Current smokers and those who quit less than 10 years prior to surgery face twice the risk of disease recurrence.

Current smokers and those who quit less than 10 years prior to surgery face twice the risk of disease recurrence.

The dangers of smoking are multiplied in patients who undergo surgery for prostate cancer, according to a recent study.

For current smokers and patients who quit smoking less than 10 years prior to surgery for prostate cancer, the risk of disease recurrence is nearly twice than the risk faced by non-smokers.

"This is a new analysis, but it seems to confirm results we have seen in many other types of cancer: basically, smoking increases the risk of cancer recurrence after initial treatment. Prostate cancer mortality varies widely throughout Europe,” lead researcher Malte Rieken, MD, said in a press release. “The fact that cancer recurrence can vary so dramatically due to smoking is probably one of the factors which may contribute to differences in prostate cancer mortality. It's just another reason not to smoke at all, but the fact that the risk drops after 10 years means that anyone who has prostate cancer, would be well advised to quit immediately."

The study, set to be presented at the European Association of Urology conference, noted that approximately 30% of all prostate cancer patients who undergo a radical prostatectomy experience biochemical recurrence defined by increased prostate specific antigen within 10 years following the procedure.

For the study, researchers retrospectively examined biochemical prostate cancer recurrence in 7191 patients who received a radical prostatectomy. Of these patients, 2513 (34.9%) were nonsmokers, 2269 (31.6%) were former smokers, and 3409 (33.5%) were current smokers.

The researchers found that after a median of 28 months, current smokers had approximately double the chance of cancer recurrence than patients who had never smoked (HR 2.26). Patients who quit smoking within the last 10 years had a risk of cancer recurrence at roughly the same level as the current smokers (HR 2.03).

The results showed that it took approximately 10 years after a patient stopped smoking for the risk of cancer recurrence to drop significantly.

“Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for man in the western world. A number of studies have addressed how diet and environmental factors affect the risk of prostate cancer,” former EAU Secretary-General Per-Anders Abrahamsson said in a press release. “This is the first report that clarifies that smoking increases the risk of prostate cancer recurring after surgery and, therefore, a major step forward to advise our patients to stop smoking when diagnosed with prostate cancer."