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Height May Affect Risk of High-Grade Prostate Cancer

Childhood environmental factors have limited impact on overall incidence

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Childhood environmental exposure as measured by height has only limited impact on men's overall risk of prostate cancer, but may be associated with risk of high-grade tumors with a poor prognosis, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Luisa Zuccolo, of the University of Bristol in Bristol, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 1,357 men with localized prostate cancer and 7,990 matched controls, and also conducted a meta-analysis of 58 studies on the prostate cancer-height association.

According to the findings of the case-control study, there was a 1.06 odds ratio for the increase in the risk of prostate cancer for every 10 cm of height, but there was a 1.23 odds ratio for risk of high-grade prostate cancer. This increased risk was mainly attributable to leg length rather than trunk length, the other component of height measurement. The meta-analysis showed the association between height and prostate cancer risk but the findings were undermined by publication bias.

"Early life environmental factors may play some role in the development and/or progression of neoplasia with a worse prognosis," the authors write. "Mechanisms that could underlie a height effect on the more aggressive forms of the disease now need to be elucidated."

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