Male infertility linked to prostate cancer risk

pharmafile | September 26, 2019 | News story | Research and Development  

Research published in the British Medical Journal has found a link that men who have fertility treatment have a higher risk of prostate cancer later in life.

Men who had intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a treatment for male infertility, had an increased prostate cancer risk.

Prostate Cancer UK however said researchers must look at a much broader age range before concluding men who have fertility treatment are at higher risk.

The research comes from Lund University in Sweden which use data from national birth and cancer registers examining more than a million births between 1994 and 2014 and at cancer cases.

Most babies, 97% – were conceived naturally, and 20,618 (1.7%) were conceived using IVF, although the data does not show if fertility issues lay with the man or the woman.

Some 14,882 (1.3%) births resulted from ICSI where a single, good-quality sperm is selected and injected directly into an egg.

The research ultimately found that men in the ICSI group had a higher risk of developing early onset prostate cancer, before the age of 55.

Professor Yvonne Lundberg Giwercman, who led the study, said: “The prostate cancer numbers are quite small, but these men are very young.

“They are a small high-risk group, and we should be following them more closely.”

Simon Grievson of Prostate Cancer reiterated that it was important not to “leap to any conclusions”.

He said: “Prostate cancer is more common in men over the age of 50. The men involved in this study were younger on average, and therefore already have a very low risk of prostate cancer.

“This study would need to look at a much broader age range to fully understand whether men who undergo fertility treatment actually have a higher risk overall.

“If this can be proven more research would then need to be done to determine the underlying cause. Until then, there is little evidence that there would be any benefit in monitoring these men more closely.”

Nik Kiran

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