An Association Between Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer?

Summary and Comment |
August 1, 2017

An Association Between Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer?

  1. Thomas L. Schwenk, MD

A meta-analysis casts doubt on this enduring belief.

  1. Thomas L. Schwenk, MD

A 30-year debate about the association of vasectomy with excess risk for prostate cancer has been fueled by studies of variable quality and with mixed results. In this meta-analysis, researchers addressed study quality: They evaluated 53 studies (16 cohort, 33 case-control, and 4 cross-sectional) that involved about 15 million patients; only 9 cohort studies, 7 case-control studies, and no cross-sectional studies were categorized as having low risk for bias.

When analyses of the cohort studies were restricted to those with low risk for bias, a barely statistically significant excess risk for incident prostate cancer of any type (relative risk, 1.05) was noted. Using the same criteria for case-control studies revealed no significant association of vasectomy with excess prostate cancer. When all studies were included, fatal, high-grade, or advanced prostate cancer was not statistically significantly associated with vasectomy although the point estimates for incidence were similar to those for overall prostate cancer.

Comment

The authors concluded that the strength of association between vasectomy and any prostate cancer declined as the quality of the studies improved. They calculated that, at most, only 0.5% of prostate cancers could be associated with vasectomy, and no association existed for high-grade, advanced, or fatal prostate cancers. Although the slight uncertainty probably should be disclosed to patients who are considering vasectomy, I do not think it should be influential in decision making.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Thomas L. Schwenk, MD at time of publication Editorial boards UpToDate

Citation(s):

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.