Modifiable risk factors for prostate cancer mortality in London: forty years of follow-up in the Whitehall study

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Feb;22(2):311-8. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9691-6. Epub 2010 Nov 30.


Background: The determinants of prostate cancer--aside from established but non-modifiable risk factors of increased age, black ethnicity, and a positive family history--are poorly understood.

Methods: We examined the association of a series of baseline socioeconomic, behavioral, and metabolic characteristics with the risk of prostate cancer mortality in a 40-year follow-up of study members from the original Whitehall cohort study. During this period there were 578 prostate cancer deaths in 17,934 men.

Results: After adjustment for a series of baseline covariates, results from proportional hazards regression analyses indicated that marital status (hazard ratio; 95% confidence interval: widowed/divorced vs. married: 1.44; 0.95, 2.18), raised blood cholesterol (tertile 3 vs. 1: 1.35; 1.11, 1.65), and increased physical stature (tertile 3 vs. 1: 1.37; 1.09, 1.74) were associated with death from prostate cancer, although statistical significance at conventional levels was not apparent in all analyses. There was no evidence that physical activity, smoking habit, socio-economic status, component of either blood pressure or diabetes predicted the risk of death from this malignancy herein.

Conclusions: In the present study, there was a suggestion that marital status, blood cholesterol, and height were risk indices for death from prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • London / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors