Current smokers and those who quit smoking less than 10 years before radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer (PCa) are twice as likely as patients who never smoked to experience biochemical recurrence, according to study findings presented at the European Association of Urology 2015 congress in Madrid.

The study included 7,191 men who underwent radical prostatectomy. Of these, 2,513 (34.9%) had never smoked, 2,269 31.6%) were former smokers, and 3,409 (33.5%) currently smoked. After a median follow-up of 28 months, current smokers and those who had quit smoking within the last 10 years had a 2.2 times and 2.0 times increased risk of biochemical recurrence of PCa, respectively, compared with never-smokers. Men who quit smoking 10 or more years had a non-significant 20% increased risk.

“This is a new analysis,” said lead researcher Malte Rieken, MD, of University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, “but it seems to confirm results we have seen in many other types of cancer: basically, smoking increases the risk of cancer recurrence after initial treatment. … It’s just another reason not to smoke at all, but the fact that the risk drops after 10 years means that anyone who has prostate cancer would be well advised to quit immediately.”

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Commenting on the new study, former EAU Secretary General Per-Anders Abrahamsson, MD, PhD, chairman and professor in the Department of Urology at Skåne University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, observed: “This is the first report that clarifies that smoking increases the risk of prostate cancer recurring after surgery, and, therefore, a major step forward to advise our patients to stop smoking when diagnosed with prostate cancer.”