Infertile men may be at increased risk for high-grade prostate cancer (PCa), according to researchers at the University of California-San Francisco.

They examined the subsequent occurrence of PCa in a cohort of 22,562 men evaluated for infertility from 1967 to 1998 at 15 California infertility centers and linked to the California Cancer Registry. The investigators, led by Paul Turek, MD, identified 168 PCa cases. Men with male factor infertility were 2.6 times more likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer than men in the general population matched for age and geography, according to findings published in Cancer (online ahead of print).

“This study confirms our earlier published work with testis cancer and suggest that male infertility may be an early marker for later disease in men,” said Dr. Turek, who now heads his own practice, The Turek Clinic, in San Francisco.

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Male infertility affects about 5%-10% of reproductive age men.