Advertisement

Body Fat Distribution and Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Advertisement

Key Points

  • The accumulation of fat in specific areas—such as visceral fat and thigh subcutaneous fat—was associated with the risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer.
  • High body mass index and high waist circumference were also associated with higher risks of advanced and fatal prostate cancer.

In a prospective study of directly measured body fat distribution and prostate cancer risk, investigators found that higher levels of abdominal and thigh fat are associated with an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The findings—published by Dickerman et al in Cancer—may lead to a better understanding of the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer, as well as provide new insights for treatment.

Previous studies have shown that obesity is associated with an elevated risk of advanced prostate cancer and a poorer prognosis after diagnosis. Emerging evidence also suggests that the specific distribution of fat in the body may be an important factor.

Study Details

Barbra Dickerman, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed body fat distribution using computed tomography imaging and assessed the risk of being diagnosed with and dying from prostate cancer among 1,832 Icelandic men. They were followed for up to 13 years as part of the AGES-Reykjavik study.

During the study, 172 men developed prostate cancer and 31 died from the disease. The accumulation of fat in specific areas—such as visceral fat in the abdomen and thigh subcutaneous fat—was associated with the risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer. High body mass index (BMI) and high waist circumference were also associated with higher risks of advanced and fatal prostate cancer. No adiposity measures were associated with total or high-grade disease.

“Interestingly, when we looked separately at men with a high BMI vs [a] 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,” noted Dr. Dickerman.

Looking Ahead

Additional studies are needed to investigate the role of fat distribution in the development and progression of prostate cancer, as well as how changes in fat stores over time may affect patients’ health. “Ultimately, identifying the patterns of fat distribution that are associated with the highest risk of clinically significant prostate cancer may help to elucidate the mechanisms linking obesity with aggressive disease and target men for intervention strategies,” concluded Dr. Dickerman.

An accompanying editorial noted that lifestyle interventions that target fat loss may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


Advertisement

Advertisement



Advertisement