October 20, 2008

Body Weight and C-Peptide Levels Associated with Risk of Dying from Prostate Cancer


Body Weight and C-Peptide Levels Associated with Risk of Dying from Prostate Cancer

Excess body weight coupled with a high C-peptide level among men with prostate cancer is associated with an increased risk of death from the disease. These results were recently published in an early online version of the Lancet Oncology.

The prostate is a walnut-size gland in men located between the bladder and rectum that is responsible for the formation of a portion of semen.?Prostate cancer is a common malignancy among men in the United States and testing for prostate cancer after the age of 50 is becoming a routine practice.

Researchers continue to explore variables that may influence outcomes of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in order to individualize treatment or monitoring and/or help advise patients about ways they can change lifestyle habits to improve outcomes. Some common factors that have been extensively evaluated are body weight, exercise, insulin levels and diet. C-peptide is a byproduct created by insulin metabolism that can be measured through blood tests and is also being evaluated to determine its effects on cancer patients.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical Center recently performed an analysis of data from over 2,500 men with prostate cancer in an attempt to identify potential variables affecting outcomes of these patients. The men had been involved in the Physicians’ Health Study and underwent measurements of body mass and C-peptide levels upon initiation of the trial, as well as follow-up at 8 years.

Thirty-nine percent of patients in this study were overweight and 3.4% were obese. During the period of follow-up, 11% died from prostate cancer. Men with a high body mass index (overweight or obese), either upon initiation of the trial or at follow-up, had a 50% increased risk of death from prostate cancer than those with normal or low body mass index levels. Men with the highest levels of C-peptide upon initiation of the trial had a 1.4-fold increased risk of death from prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest C-peptide levels. Men with a high BMI and a high C-peptide had a 4-fold increased risk of death from prostate cancer that was independent of other risk factors.

The researchers concluded, “Excess body weight and a high plasma concentration of C-peptide both predispose men with a subsequent diagnosis of prostate cancer to an increased likelihood of dying of their disease.” Patients with prostate cancer should speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of all treatment options.

Reference: Ma J, Li H, Giovannucci E, et al. Prediagnostic body-mass index, plasma C-peptide concentration, and prostate cancer-specific mortality in men with prostate cancer: a long-term survival analysis. Lancet Oncology. Early on-line publication October 6, 2008. DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70235-3.

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Tags: Early Stage I-II (A-B) Prostate Cancer, Locally Advanced Stage III (C) Prostate Cancer, Metastatic Stage IV (D) Prostate Cancer, Refactory/Recurrent Prostate Cancer, Screening/Prevention Prostate Cancer, Uncategorized