Men with inflammatory bowel disease have four to five times higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, reports a 20-year study from Northwestern Medicine published in the journal European Urology.
This is the first report to show men with inflammatory bowel disease have higher than average PSA (prostate-specific antigen) values, and this group also has a significantly higher risk of potentially dangerous prostate cancer.
About 1 million men have inflammatory bowel disease in the U.S. Inflammatory bowel disease is a common chronic condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“These patients may need to be screened more carefully than a man without inflammatory bowel disease,” said lead study author Shilajit Kundu, MD, chief of Urologic Oncology in the Department of Urology. “If a man with inflammatory bowel disease has an elevated PSA, it may be an indicator of prostate cancer.”
Kundu is also an associate professor of Urology, a Northwestern Medicine physician and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
In his practice, Kundu sees many men with inflammatory bowel disease who have elevated PSA tests.
“Many physicians think their PSA is elevated just because they have an inflammatory condition,” Kundu said. “There is no data to guide how we should treat these men.”
For the extensive study, investigators looked at 1,033 men with inflammatory bowel disease and a control group of 9,306 men without the disease. They followed the two groups of men for 18 years and found those with inflammatory bowel disease were much more likely to have prostate cancer and higher PSA levels.
Northwestern scientists are now working to understand the mechanism of how gut inflammation leads to prostate cancer.
Other Northwestern authors are Edward Schaeffer, MD, PhD, chair and Edmund Andrews Professor of Urology; Scott Strong, MD, chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery in the Department of Surgery and the James R. Hines, MD, Professor of Surgery; Maha Hussain, MD, deputy director of the Lurie Cancer Center and the Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology; William Catalona, MD, professor of Urology; Stephen Hanauer, MD, the Clifford Joseph Barborka Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Adam Weiner, MD, a resident in Urology; Eric Li, a medical student; Jacob Burns, a medical student; and James Burns.