A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of California, San Francisco, researchers suggests that men with prostate cancer who smoke increase their risk of prostate cancer recurrence and of dying from the disease. A link also was found between smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis and aggressive prostate cancer, overall mortality (death) and cardiovascular disease mortality.

“In our study, we found similar results for both prostate cancer recurrence and prostate cancer mortality,” said Stacey Kenfield, lead author of the study and a research associate in the HSPH Department of Epidemiology. “These data taken together provide further support that smoking may increase risk of prostate cancer progression.”

The study was published in the June 22-29, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It is the largest study to date to look at the relation between smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis and prostate cancer-specific mortality and recurrence.

Kenfield and her colleagues conducted a prospective observational study of 5,366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The researchers documented 1,630 deaths, 524 (32%) due to prostate cancer, 416 (26%) due to cardiovascular disease, and 878 prostate cancer recurrences.

Compared with current smokers, men with prostate cancer who had quit smoking for 10 or more years, or who had quit for less than 10 years but smoked less than 20 pack-years before diagnosis, had prostate cancer mortality risk similar to men who had never smoked. Men who had quit smoking for less than 10 years and had smoked 20 or more pack-years had risks similar to current smokers.

 

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