Vasectomy and prostate cancer: results from a multiethnic case-control study

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995 May 3;87(9):662-9. doi: 10.1093/jnci/87.9.662.

Abstract

Background: Vasectomy, a widely used form of contraception, has been associated in some studies with increased prostate cancer risk.

Purpose: We assessed this association on the basis of data collected in a large multiethnic case-control study of prostate cancer that was conducted in the United States (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii) and Canada (Toronto and Vancouver).

Methods: In home interviews conducted with newly diagnosed prostate cancer case patients and population control subjects, we obtained information on the participants' medical history, including a history of vasectomy and the age at which the procedure was performed, as well as other potential risk factors. Blood samples were collected from control subjects only and were assayed for concentration of sex hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin.

Results: The present analysis was based on 1642 prostate cancer patients and 1636 control subjects. A history of vasectomy was not significantly associated with prostate cancer risk among all racial/ethnic groups combined (odds ratio [OR] = 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.83-1.3), whites (OR = 0.94; 95% CI = 0.69-1.3), blacks (OR = 1.0; 95% CI = 0.59-1.8), or Chinese-Americans (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.42-2.2). Among Japanese-Americans, the OR was 1.8 (95% CI = 0.97-3.4), but the statistically nonsignificant elevation in risk was limited to more educated men and those with localized cancers. ORs did not vary significantly by age at vasectomy or years since vasectomy. We found a lower serum concentration of sex hormone-binding globulin and a higher ratio of dihydrotestosterone to testosterone among vasectomized control subjects than among nonvasectomized control subjects.

Conclusions: The findings of this study do not support previous reports of increased prostate cancer risk associated with vasectomy. However, the altered endocrine profiles of vasectomized control subjects seen in this cross-sectional comparison warrant further evaluation in longitudinal studies.

PIP: Vasectomy has been associated in some studies with increased prostate cancer risk. This association was assessed on the basis of data collected in a large multiethnic case control study of prostate cancer that was conducted in the United States (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii) and Canada (Toronto and Vancouver). In home interviews conducted with newly diagnosed prostate cancer case patients (diagnosed between January 1, 1989 and December 31, 1991 as well as January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1988) and control subjects, information was obtained on the participants' medical history, including a history of vasectomy and the age at which the procedure was performed as well as other potential risk factors. Blood samples were collected from control subjects only and were assayed for concentration of total testosterone, percent of free testosterone, percent of bioavailable testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) using an automated, polyclonal-monoclonal immunochemiluminometric prostate-specific antigen (PSA) assay. The analysis was based on 1642 prostate cancer patients and 1636 control subjects. The analysis of PSA, androgens, and SHBG by vasectomy status was based on 850 control subjects with normal PSA concentrations. A history of vasectomy was not significantly associated with prostate cancer risk among all racial/ethnic groups combined (odds ratio [OR] = 1.1; Whites OR = 0.94; Blacks OR = 1.0; or Chinese-Americans OR = 0.96). Among Japanese-Americans, the OR was 1.8, but the statistically significant elevation in risk (OR = 4.1) was limited to more educated men with a history of vasectomy and those with localized cancers (OR = 5.3). ORs did not vary significantly by age at vasectomy or years since vasectomy. Lower serum concentration of SHBG and a higher ratio of DHT to testosterone was found among vasectomized control subjects than among nonvasectomized control subjects. The findings do not support previous reports of increased prostate cancer risk associated with vasectomy. However, the altered endocrine profiles of vasectomized control subjects warrant further evaluation in longitudinal studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Aged
  • Androgens / blood
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Case-Control Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Vasectomy / adverse effects*

Substances

  • Androgens
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen