WASHINGTON, D.C.—Although studies have suggested that men with diabetes mellitus (DM) are at lower risk of prostate cancer (PCa), new findings suggest that DM is associated with a significantly increased risk of aggressive prostate tumors, researchers reported.

Leah Gerber, MSc, and colleagues at the Duke Prostate Center in Durham, N.C., analyzed data from 1,848 men in center’s database who underwent radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer (PCa). At the time of surgery, 197 patients (10.7%) had DM.

After adjusting for demographic and clinical covariates, men with preexisting DM had a nearly 50% increased risk of aggressive PCa (Gleason score above 7) compared with men without DM, said Gerber, who presented study data at the American Urological Association 2011 annual meeting.

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“Neither race nor obesity seemed to modify this association,” Gerber told attendees.

The finding could explain, in part, why recent meta-analyses show that pre-existing diabetes mellitus is a significant risk factor for overall and prostate cancer-specific mortality, she said.

“If confirmed in other populations, these findings could be used to further risk stratify patients and identify therapeutic agents [that act] within the molecular pathways shared by both disease processes,” she said.