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Race, Weight May Influence Success of Prostate Surgery

Among diabetic men undergoing prostatectomy, obese whites have worse outcomes, study finds

FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Race and obesity may affect the outcome of men with diabetes who have prostate cancer surgery, a new U.S. study reveals.

"We found that diabetes was significantly associated with more aggressive disease in obese white men and less aggressive disease for all other subsets of men in our study," Dr. Stephen Freedland, an associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University, said in a Duke news release.

Freedland and colleagues examined the medical records of 1,262 prostate cancer patients who had undergone radical prostatectomy -- surgery to remove the prostate gland and some tissue surrounding it.

The researchers found an association between diabetes and an increased risk of cancer recurrence and a trend toward more aggressive recurrence in obese white men. In all other groups of men, diabetes was associated with lower recurrence risk.

"We really don't know what mechanisms might be in place that could account for this relationship," Freedland said. "But consider this: diabetes is associated with low levels of insulin and testosterone, an inhospitable environment for tumor growth. This is compounded in obese white men who also have lower insulin-like growth factor levels. The thinking is that if a tumor is powerful enough to grow in such a hostile environment, then it's probably a pretty aggressive one."

The study was published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Duke Medicine, news release, Jan. 11, 2010
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