While tumor volume and Gleason scores are the best available prognostic indicators for prostate cancer, contemporary predictive methods are unable to identify which men with Gleason scores of 7 have clinically insignificant tumors that will not progress and which men will develop highly aggressive prostate cancer. Our objective was to evaluate potential environmental determinants of significant prostate cancer. Subjects were patients identified from a university-based hospital and tertiary cancer center who had undergone radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Cases were 103 patients whose tumor volumes were </=0.5 ml. The comparison group was comprised of 225 men with larger-volume disease or with histologic evidence of extracapsular extension but without lymph node involvement. The matching criteria were ethnicity, age at diagnosis (+/-5 years), and date of diagnosis (+/-1 year). Epidemiologic data, current weight, and height were obtained. The comparison group was significantly more likely than cases to be current smokers (7.6% vs. 3.9%) and to report more pack-years smoked (30.1 vs. 23.0 years, p = 0.06). Cases tended to weigh less (85.2 vs. 87.1 kg, p = 0.1) and have lower body mass indices (26.8 vs. 27.6, p = 0.07). A similar trend was evident for weight at age 40 (79 vs. 81 kg). Cases reported a mean weight gain of 4.9 kg compared with 6. 6 kg in the comparison subjects (p = 0.05) between the ages of 25 and 40. There was no significant difference in weight gain from age 40 to current age. Cases were more likely to report having prostate cancer screening (90% vs. 80%, p = 0.02). Cases with Gleason scores </=7 (3 + 4, with 3 being the dominant grade) were younger at diagnosis than those with scores of 7 (4 + 3, with 4 being the dominant grade), were more likely (93%) to have had prostate screening, were less likely to be current smokers (4%), reported the fewest pack-years smoked (21.5 vs. 28.6 years for high-score cases and 30.1 for comparison subjects), and had the lowest average weight gain from ages 25 to 40 (4.62 vs. 6.31 kg for high-score cases). Weight gain in early adulthood and smoking thus appear to be important predictors of virulent prostate cancer. Our data also suggest that prior screening is associated with diagnosis of lower-volume and lower-score disease.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.