Testicular Cancer Survivors Have Increased Risk for Prostate Cancer

For immediate release: February 23, 2015

Men with a history of testicular cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who haven’t had testicular cancer, according to study findings presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

Men with a history of testicular cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who haven’t had testicular cancer, according to study findings presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. The research also indicates that testicular cancer survivors are at higher risk of developing the more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

“These results are significant because understanding a population’s increased risk for developing prostate cancer has implications for early diagnosis and successful treatment of the disease,” says senior study author Mohummad Minhaj Siddiqui, MD, who is director of urologic robotic surgery at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and is an assistant professor of surgery at the UM School of Medicine. “Men with a history of testicular cancer should talk to their doctors about their prostate cancer risk and screening that may be appropriate.”

Researchers analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) medical registry of nearly 180,000 men 40+ years old to compare prostate cancer incidence rates among men with a history of testicular cancer to those with a history of melanoma. Melanoma was used as the control in this study because it has no known link to prostate cancer.

The study found that by age 80, the overall incidence of prostate cancer was significantly higher in testicular cancer survivors. 12.3 percent of the men with a history of testicular cancer were diagnosed with prostate cancer versus 2.7 percent of the men with melanoma. Intermediate or high risk prostate cancer was diagnosed in 5.7 percent of the testicular cancer group as compared to 1.1 percent for the melanoma group. This means testicular cancer survivors are 4.7 times more likely to develop prostate cancer and 5.2 times more likely to develop higher-risk disease than their counterparts.

According to Andrew Riggin, MD, a resident in the University of Maryland’s Division of Urology and first author on the study, the link between the two diseases is plausible because both involve the hormonal axis in men. Men with testicular cancer usually undergo an orchiectomy — the removal of one or both testicles — which can cause hormonal fluctuation. Prostate cancer is heavily influenced by hormone levels.

“The fact that the two cancers affect systems linked to the male hormone pathway was the reason we asked the exploratory question of if there is an observable association between prostate and testicular cancers,” says Dr. Riggin. “It is important, however, to remember that association does not equate to causality, and significant future studies are needed before we can understand if testicular cancer, or the treatments related to testicular cancer, actually cause worse prostate cancer.”

Dr. Siddiqui presented this data at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, which featured practice-changing science and the latest discoveries in the field. The meeting was co-sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO).

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