Obesity Increases Prostate Cancer Risk Even More in Black Men

(HealthDay News) — Compared with white men, black men appear to have up to four-fold greater risk for developing prostate cancer as their BMI increases, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.

To explore a possible connection between obesity and prostate cancer, investigators analyzed data collected between 2001 and 2011 by the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial. The trial included 3,398 black men and 22,673 white men, all cancer-free and aged 55 years and older at the start. 

Medical histories were gathered, including information on smoking, diabetes, family history of prostate cancer, ethnicity and education. BMI was also assessed.

During a median follow-up of 5.6 years, the researchers found a 58% increased risk for prostate cancer among black men compared with white men. In terms of weight, the researchers found that obesity raised risk in black men as weight increased. For black men with a BMI of 25 or less, their risk for any prostate cancer was up 28%, while that risk jumped to 103% for black men with a BMI of 35 or more.

In addition, the researchers found that obesity among black men was linked to greater risk for both aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer risk. 

Compared with healthy-weight black men, severely obese black men more faced a 122% increased risk for low-grade prostate cancer. Their risk for high-grade disease was 81% higher. 

Obese white men, meanwhile, were found to face a 33% higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer compared with normal-weight white men, and no greater risk for low-grade cancer. In fact, obese white men appeared to face a 20% lower risk for low-grade prostate cancer, relative to their healthy-weight peers.


  1. Barrington WE et al. JAMA Oncol. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.0513.