Study finds men with inflammatory bowel disease at risk for prostate cancer

Dr. David Samadi explains results from 20-year study finding that men with inflammatory bowel disease have a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer.

A 20-year study from Northwestern Medicine has found men with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are four to five times more likely to have a greater risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than men without IBD. Inflammatory bowel disease is a common condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  In the U.S., about 1 million men have IBD. This report, published in European Urology, is also the first to show that men with IBD have higher than average prostate specific antigen (PSA) values.

“This is an alarming study to say the least,” exclaimed Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon. “These men with inflammatory bowel disease will need to be screened very carefully as elevated PSA levels are fairly common in men with this condition. The last thing we want to do is assume that their PSA level is elevated simply because of their condition. It needs to be investigated further to rule that out.”

Findings from study

For the study, more than 10,000 men, a little over 1,000 men with IBD and over 9,300 men without IBD, were placed into two groups. The men who did not have IBD were the control group. The two groups of men were followed for 18 years after which findings showed that men with IBD were much more likely to have prostate cancer and higher PSA levels.

“Specifically, this study found that the 10-year incidence of clinically significant prostate cancer which is a Gleason score of a 2 or higher, was 2.4% in the group of men with IBD compared with 0.42% in the control group,” explained Dr. Samadi. “Another interesting finding was that after the age of 60, men with inflammatory bowel disease had higher PSA values than men who did not have inflammatory bowel disease.”

Dr. Samadi concluded by stating, “Inflammatory bowel disease can be a difficult condition to treat.  Now that it appears to be linked to increased tendency for prostate cancer, it will be important to pay particular attention to men with IBD making sure they are having regular PSA tests done. In the meantime, guidance on how to treat these men will be valuable in providing them the best treatment possible.”