PHILADELPHIA A man's height is a modest marker for risk of prostate cancer development, but is more strongly linked to progression of the cancer, say British researchers who conducted their own study on the connection and also reviewed 58 published studies.
In the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 12 researchers at four universities in England studied more than 9,000 men with and without prostate cancer and estimated that the risk of developing the disease rises by about six percent for every 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) in height a man is over the shortest group of men in the study. That means a man who is one foot taller than the shortest person in the study would have a 19 percent increased risk of developing the disease.
Still, these increases in risk are a lot less than those linked with other established risk factors, such as age, family history of the disease, and race. Because of that, the researchers do not suggest that taller men be screened more often than is typical, or that their cancer treatment be altered.
"Compared to other risk factors, the magnitude of the additional risk of being taller is small, and we do not believe that it should interfere with preventive or clinical decisions in managing prostate cancer," said the study's lead author, Luisa Zuccolo, M.Sc., of the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol. "But the insight arising from this research is of great scientific interest. Little is known on the causes of prostate cancer and this association with height has opened up a new line of scientific inquiry."
For example, Zuccolo says that factors associated with height - not height itself could be risk factors for progression to fatal prostate cancer, and a plausible mechanism behind this association could be the insulin-like growth factor-1(IGF-1) system, which stimulates cell growth and
|Contact: Jeremy Moore|
American Association for Cancer Research