Overweight men 'more likely to develop prostate cancer because fat provides favourable environment for disease'
05:12 GMT, 25 September 2012
Being fat makes you more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to a new study.
Researchers have found that the fat surrounding the prostate of overweight or obese men with the cancer provides a favourable environment to promote the disease's growth.
Fat can aid the immune system, but too much can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Overweight men are more likely to develop prostate cancer because fat encourages the disease, according to new research (picture posed by model)
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms in men and early treatment is usually very successful.
An international team, led by Dr Ricardo Ribeiro, analysed fat from around the prostate taken from patients undergoing surgery for the disease.
Samples were included from men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer (PC), and from men where their cancer was no longer confined to the prostate.
The men were also classified as being either lean, with a body mass index (BMI) lower than 25, or obese (a BMI greater than 25).
An international team analysed fat from around the prostate taken from patients undergoing surgery for the disease (above)
Regardless of type of prostate disease, the overweight men had different levels of gene activity in the fat surrounding their prostates compared to the lean men.
This included genes which encode proteins involved in immunity and inflammation and cell growth and proliferation including fat metabolism and programmed cell death.
And the activity of more genes was altered between hyperplasia and prostate cancer, and between cancer and non-confined cancer, suggesting a gradual increase in dysregulation during cancer progression.
Dr Ribeiro said: 'In an increasingly obese population, understanding how fat, especially the fat surrounding the prostate, can influence the growth and severity of prostate cancer may provide an opportunity for implementing personalized lifestyle and therapeutic strategies.'
The findings were published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.