Physical activity as a risk factor for prostate cancer diagnosis: a prospective biopsy cohort analysis

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To assess the association between physical activity, evaluated by the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire, and prostate cancer risk in a consecutive series of men undergoing prostate biopsy.

Patients and Method

From 2011 onwards, consecutive men undergoing 12-core prostate biopsy were enrolled into a prospective database. Indications for a prostatic biopsy were a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) value of ≥4 ng/mL and/or a positive digital rectal examination. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumferences were measured before the biopsy. Fasting blood samples were collected before biopsy and tested for: total PSA, glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and trygliceride levels. Blood pressure was recorded. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) was defined according to the Adult Treatment panel III. The PASE questionnaire was completed before the biopsy.


In all, 286 patients were enrolled with a median (interquartile range, IQR) age and PSA level of 68 (62–74) years and 6.1 (5–8.8) ng/mL, respectively. The median (IQR) BMI was 26.4 (24.6–29) kg/m2 and waist circumference was 102 (97–108) cm, with 75 patients (26%) presenting with MetS. In all, 106 patients (37%) had prostate cancer at biopsy. Patients with prostate cancer had higher PSA levels (median [IQR] 6.7 [5–10] vs 5.6 [4.8–8] ng/mL; P = 0.007) and lower LogPASE scores (median [IQR] 2.03 [1.82–2.18] vs 2.10 [1.92–2.29]; P = 0.005). On multivariate analysis, in addition to well-recognised risk factors such as age, PSA level and prostate volume, LogPASE score was an independent risk factor for prostate cancer diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 0.146, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.037–0.577; P = 0.006]. LogPASE score was also an independent predictor of high-grade cancer (OR 0.07, 95% CI 0.006–0.764; P = 0.029).


In our single-centre study, increased physical activity, evaluated by the PASE questionnaire, is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer and of high-grade prostate cancer at biopsy. Further studies should clarify the molecular pathways behind this association.

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