Weight Gain May Spur Prostate Cancer

Obese men progressed faster to disease recurrence, study found

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SATURDAY, Oct. 1, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A man's weight when he's diagnosed with prostate cancer, along with his history of weight gain, may play a key role in his prognosis, researchers report.

The study of 526 prostate cancer patients found that those who were obese (body mass index of 30 or more) when diagnosed were more likely to experience what the researchers call "biochemical failure" than patients who weren't obese.

Biochemical failure -- a rising level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood -- can indicate that cancer is advancing.

After surgery, a patient's PSA should go back to being undetectable, but if it begins to rise, that is an indicator of progression," explained researcher Sara Strom, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The study also found that patients who were obese at age 40 had an even higher rate of biochemical failure.

Men experiencing the greatest rate of weight gain between age 25 and the time of their prostate cancer diagnosis experienced disease progression much sooner (average of 17 months) than men who gained weight more slowly (average of 39 months).

The study appears in the Oct. 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

The findings suggest that a history of body weight could be factored in when oncologists design treatments plans for newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients, the researchers said. The results also suggest that diet and exercise may be effective in reducing the risk of prostate cancer progression.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, news release, Oct. 1, 2005

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