Conflicting Evidence in Cigarette Smoking, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia Risk

Conflicting Evidence in Cigarette Smoking, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia Risk

Cigarette smoking is a dangerous habit with harmful impacts associated with the development of several diseases but recent studies on the effects of smoking and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) show conflicting evidence, some reporting worsening consequences, while others mention possible protective effects.

Researchers conducted an analysis of several published studies and concluded that there is no proven significant association between cigarette smoking and BPH risk, but a marginal association was observed when smokers, or those who ever smoked, were compared to those who never smoked at all.

The review paper “Smoking habits and benign prostatic hyperplasia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies,” published in Medicine, highlighted the need for more studies to establish a definite relationship between smoking and BPH risk.

Current knowledge about BPH development points to lifestyle contributions. For example, obesity and diabetes are known to aggravate prostatic hyperplasia. The association between smoking tobacco and BPH risk has been investigated, but such studies produced inconclusive data. While some studies reported the aggravation of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) among smokers, others suggest that decreased prostate volume is associated with smoking so cigarette smoking delays hyperplasia.

For the recent review, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of relevant literature with hopes of reaching more definite conclusions. Identification of possible risk factors in BPH is important, especially in cases when BPH leads to surgery.

Eight published articles representing data from 44,100 subjects, of which 5,221 (11.8%) had BPH, were included in the analysis. Seven reports focused on differences between never-smokers and ex-smokers, with no significant difference observed. The same observation was made when groups of heavy smokers were compared to groups of light smokers; and between never-smokers and those who ever smoked. Another analysis of seven studies found no significant difference between groups of nonsmokers and current smokers, although a trend of elevated BPH risk from smoking was observed.

The researchers concluded: “Our results suggest that there may be no significant association between smoking and risk of BPH. Strong evidence remains lacking for increased risk of BPH surgery among smokers, including ex-smokers and current smokers, though a marginally significant difference was observed in ever-smokers when compared with never-smokers. More studies are needed to detail the effects of smoking on risk of BPH.”

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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.

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