Does Obesity Increase Prostate Cancer Risk After Hormone Therapy?

Results of a new study show that among men with prostate cancer who were treated with hormone therapy, those who were overweight or obese had a higher risk of worsening prostate cancer than did normal weight men.  The research, conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, was presented at the 2011 American Urological Association Annual Meeting.

One reason for the interest in obesity and prostate cancer is the prominence of both conditions: one-third of men in the United States are obese, and prostate cancer affects about 16 percent of US men. The relationship between the two factors was examined by Christopher J. Keto, MD, a urologic fellow at Duke, and his colleagues, who evaluated 287 men who had undergone prostatectomy. Postsurgery, all the men underwent hormone therapy to inhibit production of testosterone.

Keto and his team found that men who were overweight or obese had a threefold increased risk of cancer progression than did men of normal weight. Overweight men also had a greater than threefold increased risk of cancer metastasis to the bone compared with normal-weight men, while obese men had a fivefold increased risk.

Keto noted that obese men may need a higher dose of hormone therapy, because currently “the dose is the same regardless of weight.”

Stephen J. Freedland, MD, associate professor of urology in the Duke Prostate Cancer Center and senior author of the study, noted that “the study supports a growing body of literature showing that obese men with prostate cancer do worse,” and that “if obesity is bad for prostate cancer, we may have to be more aggressive in our treatment.”

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Keto CJ et al. Obesity is associated with castration-resistant disease and metastasis in men treated with androgen deprivation therapy after radical prostatectomy: results from the SEARCH database. BJU International 2012 Aug; 110(4): 492-98