Stocks Charles, Tanja Sylvia – Why are obese men at increased risk of death from prostate cancer? – An epidemiological investigation of biological, clinical, and methodological explanations


Obesity is a public health problem in Sweden and prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common form of cancer among men. While obesity has a complex relationship with the risk of contracting PCa, obese men are at higher risk of dying from PCa. The cause of the relationship is unknown, and it is also unknown if it matters when in life obesity develops. The link between obesity and PCa death could be mediated by other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, which in turn increases the risk of death in PCa. It can also be more difficult to successfully treat men with obesity, ffa surgically with so-called radical prostatectomy. Methodological problems may also have caused a false connection.


We want to investigate biological, clinical and methodological explanations for the connection between obesity and increased risk of dying in PCa. We plan to investigate 1) weight changes between 20 and 60 years of age and risk of dying in PCa, 2) factors related to insulin resistance such as mediators in the obesity-PCa death relationship, 3) obesity and risk of upgraded (stage, grade) PCa and positive margins (residual cancer tissue) after radical prostatectomy and 4) methodological sources of error in the analysis of obesity and risk of dying in PCa. The study is based on men in large Swedish cohort studies linked to national registers for e.g. cancer, death and PCa.


Overall, our studies will increase the understanding of why obese men are at higher risk of dying from PCa. In the long run, this can lead to evidence-based lifestyle advice for men with PCa, especially with regard to a healthy weight, as well as more individualized clinical treatment and follow-up of obese men with PCa.

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