Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Prostate Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN)?

English: Male Abdominal obesity.
Male obesity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PIN: Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) means that some of the prostate cells look abnormal under the microscope. Epithelial cells line the tiny sacs in the prostate and ducts that carry fluid in the prostate. Sometimes, the PIN changes are mild, not other times they start to look like they have cell changes characteristic of cancer cells. Whether PIN will progress to cancer (and what we should do if we find PIN, especially high-grade PIN) is unclear.

The study: Researchers from the Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City found that patients who had benign biopsies of the prostate and were obese were more likely to be found with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Adjusting for family history, PSA levels, and digital rectal exam findings led to the finding (1.57x increased risk).

My take: This study shows that obesity is associated with a higher risk of precancerous abnormalities. This type of research is not very helpful from a practical standpoint. Questions remain: What is it about obesity that makes some types of prostate cancer more common? Is it the obesity itself, or something associated with it? Inactivity? Diet? Let’s move on to better studies, including a weight loss intervention (or dietary intervention) and then assess prostate cancer risk. While this is an interesting study, I’d like to know if obesity is a true causal agent for some prostate cancers. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

Reference: Rundle A. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013;doi:10:1158/

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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