Acne in adolescence and cause-specific mortality: lower coronary heart disease but higher prostate cancer mortality: the Glasgow Alumni Cohort Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Jun 15;161(12):1094-101. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi147.


Androgen level or androgen activity is implicated in several health outcomes, but its independent role remains controversial. This study investigated the association between history of acne in young adulthood, a marker of hormone activity, and cause-specific mortality in the Glasgow Alumni Cohort Study. Male students who attended Glasgow University between 1948 and 1968 and participated in voluntary health checks reported history of acne (n = 11,232). Vital status has been traced, and risk factors in adulthood are known for about 50% of the participants. Those with a history of acne were more often nonsmokers while university students and tended to be from a lower socioeconomic position. The two groups did not differ in other adolescent (height, body mass index, blood pressure, and number of siblings) or in most adult risk factors. Students who reported a history of acne had a lower risk of all-cause (hazard ratio = 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76, 1.04) and coronary heart disease (hazard ratio = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.48, 0.94) mortality but had some evidence of a higher risk of prostate cancer mortality (hazard ratio = 1.67, 95% CI: 0.79, 3.55). This study shows that androgen activity during adolescence may protect against coronary heart disease but confer a higher risk of prostate cancer mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Causality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors