Quebec study reinforces link between prostate cancer and abdominal obesity


Abdominal obesity appears to be linked with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, a study from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) suggests. The study is the latest in a growing body of research demonstrating the connection.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control and led by Prof. Marie-Élise Parent of the INRS, analyzed data from a survey conducted in Montreal between 2005 and 2012.

According to the data, the risk of developing prostate cancer appears to be associated with the distribution of body fat, with the highest risk being linked to abdominal fat.

“Abdominal obesity is believed to be associated with a decrease in testosterone, as well as a state of chronic inflammation linked to the development of aggressive tumours,” says the study’s main author Éric Vallières, a Université de Montréal student conducting his doctoral research at the INRS.

The correlation between obesity and prostate cancer is less apparent when it comes to general obesity, when fat is distributed more evenly across the body. The research team says this may be due to general obesity’s effect on cancer-detecting tests.

“In obese people, the protein used to detect prostate cancer at early stage [...] is diluted in the blood,” said Vallières. “This hemodilution makes cancer more difficult to detect.”

In Canada, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men and the third leading cause of cancer-related death.

“Pinpointing the risk factors for aggressive cancer is a big step forward in health research because it’s the hardest to treat,” said Parent. “This data creates an opportunity to work preventively, by monitoring men with this risk factor more closely.”



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