In a study reported in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Cancer, researchers found that moderately and severely obese patients had a 99 percent greater risk of developing biochemical failure (an early marker of cancer progression) than other patients. The study also reports that obese patients had a 66 percent increased risk of having a tumor that recurs or becomes metastatic than did non-obese patients.
This finding mirrors results from a parallel study by M. D. Anderson researchers, reported last year in Clinical Cancer Research, that found that a history of weight gain or obesity at the time of diagnosis also played a role in how aggressive prostate cancer may become after surgery.
"Together, these studies confirm that a man's body mass index (BMI = weight/height2) can be a significant factor in how well he fares after standard treatments for prostate cancer," says the lead researcher of both studies, Sara Strom, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology.
"The fact that the same association was found among patients with different risk profiles, and who were treated with different therapies, would suggest that poorer outcomes in obese men are not related to differences in treatment as much as to differences in tumor behavior between obese and non-obese men," she says.
Strom adds that these findings suggest that obese prostate cancer patients should be followed more closely after treatment. "When patients and their physicians are uncertain about the need for further therapy, our research indicates that a man's weight should be factored into that decision," she says.
According to Strom, the study is the first to examine the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer progression after primary therapy wit
Contact: Stephanie Dedeaux
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center