Although being tall does not appear to influence the overall risk of prostate cancer, it may have a role in certain manifestations of the disease, US and German researchers have found.
"We found that tallness is associated with increased risk for younger onset aggressive prostate cancer," study chief Dr. Jiyoung Ahn, of New York University School of Medicine, New York, told Reuters Health.
Ahn and colleagues came to this conclusion after analyzing data from a cancer screening study involving 34,268 men.
During follow-up lasting for as long as 8.9 years, 144 men developed prostate cancer, the researchers report in the latest issue of the British Journal of Cancer.
Although cancer risk was not greater in tall men, the risk of having more aggressive prostate cancer tended to be greater in tall men. Compared to men who were around 5 feet 7 inches — 170 cm or less -those who were taller than roughly 6 feet 3 inches — 190 cm or more - had a 39 percent higher risk for aggressive cancer.
However, this risk was largely confined to men younger than age 65 and the researchers also point out that "the number of cases was small and risk estimates were somewhat unstable."
Nevertheless, concluded Ahn, the study outcome "provides a clue that there may be biologic factors in common that lead both to tallness and, later in life, to prostate cancer."
SOURCE: British Journal of Cancer, August 2009.