Greater central adiposity increases the risk of prostate cancer (PCa) in black men, according to a population-based study.

In a study of black men living in Barbados, West Indies, researchers analyzed data from 963 newly diagnosed cases of histologically confirmed PCa and 94 randomly selected age-matched controls. PCa was twice as likely to develop among men in the highest quartile of waist-to-hip ratio as among those in the lowest quartile, after adjusting for age, marital status, occupation, smoking status, family history of prostate cancer, body mass index, and religion.

In addition, black men with the largest waist circumferences had an 84% increased risk of PCa compared with black men who have the smallest waists, investigators reported online ahead of print in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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“These results suggest that measure of central rather than global adiposity may be more predictive of prostate cancer, especially in westernized African populations, where patterns of visceral fat distribution are different from other groups,” researchers Barbara Nemesure, MD, of Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y., and colleagues wrote.

They also observed: “The relationship between body size and prostate cancer is complex, perhaps resulting from influences of the insulin and androgen pathways, hormal factors, and/or other genetic and environmental contributors.”