Prostate Cancer: Obesity at Diagnosis Increases Mortality Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Reina Haque, PhD, MPH
Research scientist, Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main study findings are that men who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than men who are of healthy weight. In patients with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, the researchers also found an even stronger correlation between obesity and mortality.

The study was restricted to patients undergoing surgical treatment for prostate cancer, rather than other treatments such as radiation or hormone therapy.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: The link between obesity and prostate cancer mortality remains controversial. Although the connection between men’s weight at prostate cancer diagnosis and likelihood of survival has been examined, many previous studies were limited by self-reported body weight data or it was unclear when the BMI data were obtained.

The methodology of this study was improved because the researchers used BMI collected from medical records, instead of self-reported data. The researchers identified men who died of prostate cancer and compared their BMI at time of diagnosis to controls to determine if body weight is related prostate cancer death. The biological relationship between obesity and prostate cancer prognosis is still not understood, and is an active area of research.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Clinicians and patients should be aware of the growing body of evidence that associates weight and prostate cancer mortality. In addition, they should be vigilant for future studies that provide information regarding whether weight loss or other lifestyle changes could prolong a prostate cancer patient’s life

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

Answer: Moving forward, we are hoping future studies will examine the effect of weight loss and other lifestyle modifications on prostate cancer mortality. Further investigation also is needed to determine if the findings of this study, which looked at men who had prostate cancer surgery, apply to men who received other treatments such as radiation or hormone therapy.

 Citation:

Weight at time of diagnosis linked to prostate cancer mortality
Reina Haque, Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, Lauren P. Wallner, Kathryn Richert-Boe, Bhaskar Kallakury, Renyi Wang, Sheila Weinmann

Obesity Research & Clinical Practic
06 August 2013

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