Can BPH Cause Prostate Cancer?

Protein bars that taste like candy bars Get 12% OFF your first order plus FREE shipping

Prostate cancer risk in BPH patients was the focus of a new study presented at the 28th Annual EAU Congress in Milan, Italy. The study evaluated the genetic predisposition of men with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) to develop prostate cancer.

BPH affects at least half of all men age 50 and older, and the percentage continues to rise as men get older. The prevalence of prostate cancer also increases as men age. Another similarity between BPH and prostate cancer is that an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level can indicate either prostate condition.

However, not all men with an elevated PSA have prostate cancer; that determination is typically made after a prostate biopsy is conducted as a follow-up to the abnormal PSA level.

In this study, the authors set out to find new potential ways to identify which men with BPH who undergo a prostate biopsy because of an elevated PSA and who show no prostate cancer in their first biopsy may go on to develop prostate cancer later.

To accomplish this, the researchers evaluated 262 men diagnosed with BPH and 254 men originally diagnosed with BPH who later developed prostate cancer. All of the participants were originally examined because they had an elevated PSA or an abnormal digital rectal examination, and they then underwent a prostate biopsy that confirmed BPH.

The researchers identified ten markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs, which are genetic variations or mutations) with a significant association to prostate cancer risk. SNPs are known to be associated with a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer. This study showed that SNPs, and specifically a mutation known as RS138213197 (HOXB13), had the strongest association to prostate cancer. Men with BPH who had this mutation had 4.6 times greater risk of developing prostate cancer than did men who did not carry this genetic variation.

These findings regarding prostate cancer risk in BPH patients suggest that genetic testing may offer a way to identify which men with BPH may go on to develop prostate cancer.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


European Association of Urology. Genetic testing may be used to identify BPH patients with increased risk of prostate cancer. EurkAlert 2013 Mar 19