Early growth, adult body size and prostate cancer risk

Int J Cancer. 2003 Jan 10;103(2):241-5. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10810.


The role of growth from birth through puberty and through adult life has been the subject of epidemiologic investigation in regard to the risk of prostate cancer but the evidence remains weak and inconsistent. We investigated associations between prostate cancer risk and a number of markers of body growth, size and changes to size in a population-based, case-control study in Australia from 1994 to 1998. We analyzed data obtained in face-to-face interviews from 1,476 cases and 1,409 controls. The main outcomes of interest were the timing of the growth spurt in adolescence, the experience of acne and interviewer observation of facial acne scarring, body size at age 21, body size in reference year, maximum body weight and rate of body size change since age 21 years. Analysis was performed on all cases and also by tumour grade. We found no associations with measures of body size including body mass index and lean body mass at age 21 or later in adult life. Having a growth spurt later than friends reduced risk (odds ratio [OR] 0.79 [0.63-0.97]) and some measures of acne also gave odds ratios less than 1, for example, having facial acne scarring gave an OR of 0.67 (0.45-1.00). We conclude that markers of delayed androgen action, such as delayed growth spurt in puberty, and markers of other androgen-dependent activity in puberty, such as facial acne scarring, are associated with prostate cancer risk but we could detect no associations with markers of adult body size and growth including lean body mass.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors