Public Release: 

Obese men may have increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence after surgery

Johns Hopkins Medicine

After prostate cancer surgery, obese men are more likely than men with normal weight to have high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker for cancer recurrence, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.

"Our results show that moderately and severely obese men were at an increased risk for high PSA levels after surgery and therefore are likely to have prostate cancer recurrence," said Stephen Freedland, M.D., instructor of urology at the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins and lead researcher of the study.

The study involved 1,106 patients treated at five Veteran's Administration and active military hospitals across the country. Moderately and severely obese patients -- defined as those having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 35 kilograms per square meter, or the equivalent of a 5-foot-10 inch man weighing 245 pounds or more -- were found to have several indicators of aggressive prostate cancer, including higher Gleason scores and rising PSA levels after surgery. Men with a BMI of greater than 35 kg/m2 had a 60 percent risk of cancer recurrence within three years. Thirty-one percent of African-American men in the study were obese, while 21 percent of Caucasian men were obese.

"Our findings add to the burgeoning list of chronic and deadly diseases associated with obesity and underscore the importance of this major public health problem," says Freedland.

Obesity is an independent predictor of biochemical failure following radical prostatectomy. Stephen J. Freedland, William J. Aronson, Christopher J. Kane, Joseph C. Presti, Christopher L. Amling, David Elashoff, Martha K. Terris.


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