Rate of gain, obesity factor into increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence

PHILADELPHIA -- Men who gain weight rapidly between the ages of 25 and 40 are twice as likely to have recurrence of prostate cancer after surgery as men without rapid rates of weight gain, researchers from UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reported in the October 1 issue of "Clinical Cancer Research."

Patients who are obese at age 40 and at time of diagnosis with prostate cancer also have a higher risk of recurrence, the research indicated.

"Patients who gained an average of three and a half pounds a year have an increased risk for having their prostate cancer recur," said Sara S. Strom, Ph.D., associate professor, department of Epidemiology, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

"They are more likely to experience biochemical failure, which is when their PSA level rises, and their failure is likely to come sooner after surgery than in men who did not gain weight rapidly, or who were not obese."

PSA, or prostate specific antigen, is a protein produced almost exclusively by the prostate. It is a screening marker, measured in blood, that when elevated to over four nanograms per milliliter is a signal for men and their clinicians to consider pursuing additional screening, such as needle biopsies.

After removal of the prostate gland, the PSA level should be undetectable, Strom added. However, men who gained weight the fastest after age 25 were more likely to experience biochemical failure, which is the increase of PSA levels in the blood after removal of the prostate gland, the primary source of this protein. Obese patients had elevated PSA levels much sooner after surgery 12 months earlier than their lighter counterparts.

In a study of 526 patients, men who gained weight faster between age 25 and the time of diagnosis of their prostate cancer were at greater risk for recurrence of the disease than men who gained weight more slowly or who were not obese, said Strom. The men at greate

Contact: Russell Vanderboom, Ph.D.
American Association for Cancer Research

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