Smoking increases complications associated with prostate cancer

smoking-and-prostate-cancerA study by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has demonstrated that patients with prostate cancer have an increased of complications as a result of smoking. These complications include side effects from cancer treatment, increased of recurrence and increased of death.

The research participants included 2358 patients who underwent external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer between 1988 and 2005. Of these, 2156 had a history of smoking. Patients were classified as never smokers, current smokers, former smokers, and current smoking unknown. The patients were followed for 8 years, and the findings revealed that patients who were current smokers had a 40% increased of cancer relapse, as well as more than 2-times increased risks of cancer spread and cancer-related death, compared with patients who were never smokers.

In addition, current and former smokers had a higher likelihood of experiencing side effects, such as urinary toxicity, related to radiotherapy. Examples of urinary toxicity include urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and bladder hemorrhage.

“Less optimal tumor control outcomes among smokers could possibly be explained by the influence of less concentration within the treated tumors among smokers, which is known to lead to less sensitivity of the cells being killed off by radiation treatments,” Dr. Zelefsky the lead study author said. “Our findings point to the importance of physicians counseling their patients regarding the potential harms of smoking interfering with the efficacy of therapies and for increased risks of side effects.”


Emily Steinberger, Marisa Kollmeier, Sean McBride, Caroline Novak, Xin Pei, Michael J. Zelefsky. Cigarette smoking during external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer is associated with an increased of prostate cancer-specific mortality and treatment-related toxicity. BJU International, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/bju.12969

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