Height-related risk factors for prostate cancer

Br J Cancer. 2000 Jan;82(1):241-5. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.1999.0906.


Previous studies have reported that adult height is positively associated with the risk of prostate cancer. The authors carried out a population-based case-control study involving 317 prostate cancer cases and 480 controls to further investigate the possibility that height is more strongly associated with advanced, compared with localized forms of this disease. Since the inherited endocrine factors, which in part determine height attained during the growing years, may influence the risk of familial prostate cancer later in life, the relationship with height was also investigated for familial versus sporadic prostate cancers. Adult height was not related to the risk of localized prostate cancer, but there was a moderate positive association between increasing height and the risk of advanced cancer (relative risk (RR) = 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97-2.73, upper versus lowest quartile, P-trend = 0.07). Height was more strongly associated with the risk of prostate cancer in men with a positive family history compared with those reporting a negative family history. The RR of advanced prostate cancer for men in the upper height quartile with a positive family history was 7.41 (95% CI 1.68-32.67, P-trend = 0.02) compared with a reference group comprised of men in the shortest height quartile with a negative family history. Serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels did not correlate with height amongst men with familial or sporadic prostate cancers. These findings provide evidence for the existence of growth-related risk factors for prostate cancer, particularly for advanced and familial forms of this disease. The possible existence of inherited mechanisms affecting both somatic and tumour growth deserves further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Body Height*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I