(HealthDay News) — Vasectomy is associated with an increased incidence of prostate cancer overall during extended follow-up, with an elevated risk seen for high-grade and lethal cancer, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Mohummad Minhaj Siddiqui, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between vasectomy and prostate cancer during an extended follow-up study. Data were analyzed from 49,405 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, aged 40 to 75 years at baseline in 1986. Of these, 6,023 patients were diagnosed with prostate cancer during follow-up, including 811 lethal cases.

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Twenty-five percent of the men had vasectomies, and the correlations with total, advanced, high-grade, and lethal disease were examined.

The researchers observed a small increased risk of prostate cancer overall with vasectomy (relative risk, 1.10). The risk was further elevated for high-grade (Gleason score 8 to 10) and lethal disease (death or distant metastasis; relative risks, 1.22 and 1.19, respectively). The correlation with lethal cancer was stronger among a subcohort of men receiving regular prostate-specific antigen screening (relative risk, 1.56).

There was no correlation for vasectomy with low-grade or localized disease. Differences in sex hormone levels, sexually transmitted infections, or cancer treatment did not drive the associations.

“Our data support the hypothesis that vasectomy is associated with a modest increased incidence of lethal prostate cancer,” the researchers wrote.

Reference

  1. Siddiqui MM, Wilson KM, Epstein MM, et al. Vasectomy and Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer: A 24-Year Follow-Up Study. J Clin Oncol. 2014;doi:10.1200/JCO.2013.54.8446.