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Sex Hormones Don't Seem to Affect Prostate Cancer Risk
Date:1/29/2008

Finding could spur research into other causes of the disease

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A man's risk of prostate cancer is not related to the amount of sex hormones circulating in his bloodstream, a new British analysis suggests.

The conclusion was based on a review of 18 studies -- representing 95 percent of all available research -- that looked into potential links between the disease and blood hormone levels, the study authors said.

"There has been a long interest in whether or not natural variations in hormone levels in a man's blood are related to future disease risk," said study author Andrew Roddam, of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford. "What we have shown in this collaboration is that these natural fluctuations in levels of androgens [and estrogens] do not appear to be related to subsequent risk [for] the disease."

The findings were published online in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men, other than skin cancer. An estimated 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and about 27,000 men died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Although there's no single known cause of prostate cancer, risk is higher for those over the age of 50, black men, and those with a family history of the disease.

High levels of male sex hormones, known as androgens, have long been believed to be a risk factor for prostate cancer. To explore a possible hormone-cancer risk connection, Roddam and his colleagues analyzed data from studies that involved more than 10,000 men with and without prostate cancer. The research had been conducted between 1961 and 2001, and most study participants with prostate cancer had been diagnosed after the age of 60.

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