Prostate Cancer, Heart Disease Link Probed

A new study out of the Division of Urology at Duke Cancer Institute indicates that coronary artery disease- the most common cause of sudden death- may pose another risk to sufferers.

In the past, results from studies examining the link between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer have yielded conflicting results. The latest study involved 6,390 men in a four-year, randomized trial to test the efficacy of drug in the prevention of prostate cancer. Of the more than 6,000 participants in the study, 547 reported a diagnosis of coronary artery disease at the start of the research, and tended to be older, more frequently overweight and presenting with co-morbid conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

Subjects underwent testing at the two and four-year marks, and the group with CAD were found to be far more likely to develop prostate cancer, even when controlling for other factors. A diagnosis of CAD was linked with a 35% higher likelihood of prostate cancer- 24% higher at the two-year mark and 74% higher at the four-year mark. Jean-Alfred Thomas II, MD was lead author of the study, and he explains that it’s difficult to tell whether lifestyle choices influence the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Thomas says:

“What’s good for the heart may be good for the prostate… We controlled for a number of risk factors, including hypertension, taking statins or aspirin. We don’t have a good grasp on what’s causing the link, but we are observing this association.”

The study was published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers Prevention.