Leptin influences cellular differentiation and progression in prostate cancer

J Urol. 2003 Apr;169(4):1308-11. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000055903.18400.25.


Purpose: Several studies have shown a positive association of dietary fat with prostate cancer. Leptin, a peptide hormone that has a role in the regulation of body weight, currently serves as a more accurate biomarker for total body fat. We designed a study to determine whether leptin influences cellular differentiation and the progression of prostate cancer.

Materials and methods: In this study we investigated serum leptin in 21 patients with prostate cancer, 50 with benign prostatic obstruction and 50 healthy individuals matched for sex, body mass index and age. Patients with cancer were stratified into 2 groups by the disease spread, including groups 1--organ confined and 2--advanced disease, and into 3 groups by the differentiation degree, including groups 3--Gleason sum 2 to 4 or well differentiated, 4--Gleason sum 5 to 7 or moderately differentiated and 5--Gleason sum 8 to 10 or poorly differentiated.

Results: We noted significant differences in serum leptin in the cancer versus control and cancer versus benign prostatic obstruction groups. In addition, in the prostate cancer group serum leptin correlated with prostate specific antigen and biopsy Gleason score. We also observed significant differences in serum leptin in groups 1 versus 2, 3 versus 5 and 4 versus 5.

Conclusion: Leptin may have roles in the development of prostate cancer through testosterone and factors related to obesity. It influences cellular differentiation and the progression of prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / blood
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Testosterone / physiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / blood
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / pathology


  • Leptin
  • Testosterone