Recent research published in BJU International has found that prostate cancer patients who smoke have an increased risk of suffering from treatment side effects, developing future cancer recurrences or ultimately dying from this malignancy.
The study demonstrates that smoking has a negative impact on health outcomes of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and has a deleterious role in treatment-related complications.
Previous research had already shown there is a link between smoking and prostate cancer development. To deepen the knowledge of smoking’s influence in both prostate cancer progression and treatment, a research team led by Michael Zelefsky, MD, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Professor of Radiation Oncology, analyzed a total of 2358 patients who received external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer between 1988 and 2005. Among these patients, the majority (2156) had a history of smoking. As such, the investigators grouped their patients into “never smokers”, “current smokers”, “former smokers”, and “current smoking unknown”.
All subjects were followed for an average of 8 years, and those who were current smokers had a 40% increased risk of cancer recurrence, along with an increased risk of cancer metastasis and death, when compared with patients who never smoked. Furthermore, current and former smokers had an increased probability of suffering from radiation treatment side effects, such as urinary toxicity (urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and bladder hemorrhage).
“Less optimal tumor control outcomes among smokers could possibly be explained by the influence of less oxygen 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 explained in a news release. “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.”