Fat Distribution Linked to Advanced and Fatal Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Barbra Dickerman, PhD Research Fellow Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA

Dr. Dickerman

Barbra Dickerman, PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Obesity is associated with a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and poorer prognosis after diagnosis. However, emerging evidence suggests that the specific distribution of body fat may be an important prognostic factor for prostate cancer outcomes. In this original investigation, we analyzed body fat distribution on computed tomography imaging and the risk of being diagnosed with, and dying from, prostate cancer. This study was conducted among 1,832 Icelandic men with over a decade of follow-up in the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that the accumulation of fat in specific areas – such as visceral fat (deep in the abdomen, surrounding the organs) and thigh subcutaneous fat (just beneath the skin) – was associated with the risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer. The association between visceral fat and advanced and fatal prostate cancer was stronger among men with a lower body mass index (BMI).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This research provides support for body fat distribution as an important prognostic factor for advanced and fatal prostate cancer. Identifying the patterns of fat distribution that are associated with the highest risk of clinically significant prostate cancer may help to inform targeted intervention strategies.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 


  • Future studies of obesity and prostate cancer may consider incorporating measures of fat distribution, because measures of BMI alone do not capture information on precisely where fat is stored.
  • Studies of prostate cancer prevention and treatment strategies may investigate measures of fat distribution as risk-stratification factors or intervention outcomes.
  • Additional prospective studies are needed to investigate fat distribution and clinically significant prostate cancer outcomes with attention to changes in fat stores over time and potential heterogeneity by BMI.

I have no disclosures.


Body fat distribution on computed tomography imaging and prostate cancer risk and mortality in the AGES Reykjavik study

Barbra A. Dickerman PhD, Johanna E. Torfadottir PhD, Unnur A. Valdimarsdottir PhD, Edward Giovannucci MD, ScD, Kathryn M. Wilson ScD, Thor Aspelund PhD, Laufey Tryggvadottir MSc, Lara G. Sigurdardottir MD, PhD, Tamara B. Harris MD, Lenore J. Launer PhD, Vilmundur Gudnason MD, PhD, Sarah C. Markt ScD, Lorelei A. Mucci ScD

First published: 10 June 2019



Jun 10, 2019 @ 5:54 pm 

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