High blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids, and body mass index – characteristics that are often lumped together as the metabolic syndrome – are jointly linked with an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer. That is the conclusion of a new study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study’s results suggest that public health recommendations regarding diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease and diabetes may also decrease a man’s likelihood of dying from prostate cancer.
Researchers have little knowledge about possible links between metabolic factors, separately and combined, and men’s risk of being diagnosed with or dying from prostate cancer. To investigate, Christel Häggström, MSc, Tanja Stocks, PhD, both of the Umeå University in Sweden, and their colleagues analyzed information from 289,866 men enrolled in a study called the Metabolic syndrome and Cancer project. The analysis was completed under the leadership of Pär Stattin, MD, PhD, a visiting scientist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
During an average follow-up time of 12 years, 6,673 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 961 died from the disease. Men in the highest categories of body mass index and blood pressure had a 36 percent and 62 percent increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, respectively. Also, when comparing a composite score of all metabolic factors, men with a high score were more likely to die from prostate cancer.
The study found no evidence for a link between high levels of metabolic factors and a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer but revealed a link between these factors and his risk of dying from the disease. This suggests that while men with the metabolic syndrome are not more likely than others to develop prostate cancer, if they do develop it, they are more likely than other men to die from the malignancy. “These observations suggest that cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight and hypertension are involved in stimulating the progression of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Stattin.