Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Body mass and prostatic cancer: a prospective study.

British Medical Journal 1988; 297 doi: (Published 17 September 1988) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1988;297:713
  1. R. K. Severson,
  2. J. S. Grove,
  3. A. M. Nomura,
  4. G. N. Stemmermann
  1. Japan-Hawaii Cancer Study, Kuakini Medical Center, Honolulu 96817.


    Previous studies have suggested that increased body mass is associated with an increased risk of prostatic cancer, but these studies have been limited by the fact that they were based on a few simple measurements such as height and weight. Similar results were found in a prospective study of the incidence of prostatic cancer in a cohort of Japanese men born in 1900-19 and living in Hawaii. Further evaluation of the extensive anthropomorphic measurements made in this cohort suggested that the association between measures of body mass and prostatic cancer might be accounted for more by lean tissue than by fat tissue. There was a significant positive association of the risk of prostatic cancer with area of muscle in the arm but not with area of fat in the arm. Further research is needed on the biological mechanisms of carcinogenesis that may be related to both lean and fat tissue and the development of prostatic cancer.