Metabolic syndrome factors may affect prostate cancer

Characteristics of metabolic syndrome are jointly linked with an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, according to a study.

The results suggest that public health recommendations regarding diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease and diabetes may also decrease a man’s likelihood of dying from prostate cancer, the researchers noted.

To investigate possible links between metabolic factors, separately and combined, and men’s risk of being diagnosed with or dying from prostate cancer, Christel Häggström, MSc, and Tanja Stocks, PhD, both of the Umeå University in Sweden, and their colleagues analyzed information from 289,866 men enrolled in the Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer project. The analysis was completed under the leadership of Pär Stattin, MD, PhD, a visiting scientist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

During an average follow-up time of 12 years, 6,673 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 961 died from the disease. Men in the highest categories of body mass index and blood pressure had a 36% and 62% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, respectively. When comparing a composite score of all metabolic factors, also including hyperglycemia and high blood lipid counts, men with a high score were more likely to die from prostate cancer.

The study found no evidence for a link between high levels of metabolic factors and a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, but revealed a link between these factors and his risk of dying from the disease. This finding suggests that while men with metabolic syndrome are not more likely than others to develop prostate cancer, those who do develop it are more likely than other men to die from the malignancy.

“These observations suggest that cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight and hypertension are involved in stimulating the progression of prostate cancer,” Stattin said.

The study appeared Oct. 22 on the website of the journal Cancer. The study abstract is available at

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