Male infertility may be an early and identifiable risk factor for the later development of aggressive prostate cancer, a large study found.
We should all be aware of the fact that infertility itself is an indicator of underlying disease or risk of disease. All too often, adverse outcomes from infertility treatment are attributed to the medicine or infertility care when the actual cause of the disease is infertility itself. In the early 1990’s, we all had a scare that “infertility drugs” caused cancer of the ovaries. We now know that the infertility itself was the cause but only infertile women were taking “fertility drugs”. The message here is that we need to consider infertility as a potential cause of adverse outcomes when we study the long-term effects of infertility treatments.
On multivariate analysis, men with male factor infertility were 2.6 times more likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer than those without fertility problems (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.4 to 4.8, P=0.003), according to Thomas J. Walsh, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues.
Walsh T, et al “Increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer among infertile men” Cancer 2010; DOI: 10:1002/cncr.25075.