MedUni Vienna: Prostate cancer: smoking increases mortality

World No Smoking Day on 31 May 2018

Smokers who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer have a significantly lower risk of recurrence if they stop smoking soon after the diagnosis. This is the result of a recent retrospective meta-study led by Shahrokh Shariat, Head of MedUni Vienna's Department of Urology and member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, which has now been published in the leading journal JAMA.

The international meta-study involving researchers from Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Jordan, Japan and the USA analysed eleven studies with a total of 22,549 prostate cancer patients who had undergone prostatectomy or radiotherapy. The main finding: current smokers had a significantly higher risk of recurrence, of developing new metastases and a higher risk of dying from cancer. 

"A diagnosis of cancer, even if it is not strongly linked to smoking, should make patients realise that they need to stop smoking," emphasises the MedUni Vienna urologist. Shariat goes on to add: "As doctors, we need to be vigilant and support patients in their efforts to stop smoking, since smoking, or rather stopping smoking, seems to be one of the few modifiable risk factors that has a positive influence upon the results.

Shariat hopes that the results of the study will also help to bring about a political rethink: "On the basis of this and many other results, it might perhaps be possible to influence policy so as to increase awareness of the advantages of giving up smoking and of a smoking ban."

Prostate cancer: 1,000 deaths a year in Austria

Prostate cancer is the commonest form of cancer in the Western world. Between 15 – 20% of men are affected by it at some time in their lives and 2.6 % die from prostate cancer. That equates to 1,000 deaths a year in Austria. Apart from genetic factors, environmental (epigenetic) risk factors are also involved in the development of prostate cancer: especially smoking, high sugar intake or high consumption of red meat.

Recommended reading: "Prostate cancer: Prevention. Diagnosis. Treatment." 

Shahrokh Shariat and Nicolai Hübner, MedUni Vienna at MANZ Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-214-10080-3. 2018, 180 pages, €23.90. Link to online ordering: 

Service: JAMA

"Association of Smoking Status With Recurrence, Metastasis, and Mortality Among Patients With Localized Prostate Cancer Undergoing Prostatectomy or Radiotherapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." Beat Foerster; Carmen Pozo; Mohammad Abufaraj; Andrea Mari; Shoji Kimura; David D’Andrea; Hubert John; Shahrokh F. Shariat. JAMA, May 24 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.1071. 

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