Latent prostate cancer in Japanese men who die unnatural deaths: A forensic autopsy study

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An accurate natural history of prostate cancer (PC) can be obtained from forensic autopsies of individuals who had performed their normal daily activities immediately before death and had not undergone long-term medical interventions. A retrospective analysis of such individuals was performed to understand the features of latent PC in Japan.


The findings of forensic autopsies performed at Dokkyo Medical University from August 2002 to July 2005 on men without severely destroyed or severely decomposed tissues were collected. Two cross sections, at the base and apex of the prostate, were examined histopathologically. Data collected included basic history, cause of death, location of PC, and Gleason score.


Of 196 forensically autopsied males aged 0–90 years, 24 (12.7%) had latent PC. When analyzed by age group, PC was most prevalent among individuals in their eighties (33.3%). The prevalence of PC was similar in males who died of disease and of external causes. Most PCs were located at the base of the prostate, but were present on both the anterior and posterior sides. Nine of the 24 autopsied individuals also had other diseases, with three having cancers other than PC.


This is the first report of the features of latent PC in Asian men who died of unnatural causes. Forensic autopsies can clarify the natural history of PC and may help fill knowledge gaps regarding latent PC. Prostate 75:917–922, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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