High visceral body fat increases risk of advanced prostate cancer

Higher levels of visceral fat and thigh subcutaneous fat are associated with an increased risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer, according to a recent study published in Cancer.

The prospective study of 1832 Icelandic men is the first to directly measure body fat and prostate cancer risk. Participants each underwent baseline CT imaging of their fat deposition, bioelectric impedance analysis, and measurement of BMI and waist circumference. Researchers then used nationwide cancer registries to follow up the men for a median time of 10.1 years to record incidence of total, high-grade, advanced, and fatal prostate cancer (172, 43, 41, and 31 new cases, respectively).

Results showed that the accumulation of visceral fat and thigh subcutaneous fat correlated with risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 1.31 and 1.37, respectively; CI, 1.00–1.72 and 1.00–1.88, respectively). Increased BMI and waist circumference were also associated with an increased risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer.

On the results, the authors write: ‘The identification of the adiposity phenotypes at highest risk of clinically relevant prostate cancer may help to elucidate the mechanisms linking obesity with aggressive disease and target intervention strategies,’.

Barbra A. Dickerman, lead author of the study, also said: ‘Interestingly, when we looked separately at men with a high BMI versus low BMI, we found that the association between visceral fat and advanced and fatal prostate cancer was stronger among men with a lower BMI. The precision of these estimates was limited in this subgroup analysis, but this is an intriguing signal for future research’.

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