Heart Disease May Be a Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer

In a large analysis of men participating in a prostate drug trial, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute found a significant correlation between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer, suggesting the two conditions may have shared causes.

If confirmed that heart disease is a risk factor for prostate cancer, the malignancy might be combated in part by lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet, which are known to prevent heart disease.

In the current study, the Duke team used data from 6,390 men enrolled in a large study called REDUCE, a four-year, randomized trial to test the prostate cancer risk reduction benefits of a drug called dutasteride. All the study participants had a prostate biopsy at the two- and four-year marks, regardless of their PSA levels. They also provided a detailed medical history that included their weight, incidence of heart disease, alcohol intake, medication use, and other factors.

Among the men in the study, 547 reported a pre-enrollment history of coronary artery disease. This group of men tended to be older, heavier and less healthy, with higher baseline PSA levels, plus more diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. The men were also much more likely to develop prostate cancer, even after accounting for all the baseline differences.

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Sources: OBR Daily; Duke University Health System