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Possible, small increase in risk for colon cancer among PCa patients?

Posted Oct 20 2010 12:00am

A gastroenterology research team from the University of Buffalo has presented data suggesting that men with a prior diagnosis of prostate cancer may be at increased risk for colon cancer too.

In a paper presented yesterday at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in San Antonio, Texas, Sunkavalli et al. reported on data from a study of men receiving routine colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer at the Buffalo VA Medical Center.

Key data from this study were provided in a media release from the University of Buffalo :

  • The total number of patients involved was 2,011.
  • 188 patients had a prior diagnosis of prostate cancer.
  • 48 percent of the prostate cancer patients had abnormal colon polyps (adenomas), compared to 30.8 percent of the other 1,823 patients (who acted as controls).
  • 15.4 percent of the prostate cancer patients had advanced adenomas compared to 10 percent of the men without prostate cancer.

In other words, there was a 5.4 percent absolute increase in risk for advanced adenomas among prostate cancer patients compared to the remainder of this screened population. It should, however, be noted that this was a population of US military veterans, who may not be representative of the population as a whole, and so additional research will be needed to confiorm whether this finding can be confirmed in other cohorts of patients.

It is important to appreciate that most adenomas in the colon are benign and don’t ever become cancerous. However, most colon cancers begin as adenomas, and advanced adenomas carry a high risk for colorectal cancer. According to one of the authors of this study, Ognian Pomakov, MD, “Our study is the first to show that men with prostate cancer are at increased risk of developing colon cancer.”

Regular colon cancer screening is recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for all men and women between 50 and 75 years of age.

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