Prevalence of pesticide exposure in young males (≤50 years) with adenocarcinoma of the prostate

Anil Potti1, Amit W Panwalkar1, Eric Langness2
1Department of Medicine, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
2Division of Research, Department of Medicine, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
DOI: 10.1186/1477-3163-2-4


Evidence implicating pesticides as causative agents of prostate cancer is controversial, and specifically, data in young adults is lacking. Hence, we performed a preliminary study evaluating the relationship between pesticide exposure and prostate cancer in young males. After approval from the University of North Dakota Institutional Review Board and Human Subjects Committee, a retrospective study was performed on all young males (2400 hours were considered as ‘exposed.’ The 2400 hour cut-off value was chosen on the basis of previous reports indicating that this figure represents heavy exposure to genotoxic agents. Statistical analysis was obtained using SPSS-10® . Between 1991 and 2001, 61 young males with adenocarcinoma of the prostate were identified, of whom 56 patients with a mean age of 47 years (range: 40-49) had complete records of treatment and could be contacted for completion of the questionnaire. The most common stage at presentation was Stage III and the mean Gleason’s score was 7.5 (range 5-9). Interestingly, almost a third (16/56, 28.6%) of patients had stage IV disease at presentation. 37/56 (66.1%) patients had ‘significant’ exposure in our study. In addition, interestingly, the mean survival in the subgroup of patients with pesticide exposure was 11.3 months (SD: +/- 2.3 months), while the mean survival in the patients without pesticide exposure (n = 19) was 20.1 months (SD: +/- 3.1 months), with p-value <0.01. Although our study is relatively small, it does reveal preliminary evidence linking pesticide exposure to the early development of, possibly aggressive, prostate adenocarcinoma. Future, larger, epidemiological studies are needed to confirm the findings of our study.

Keywords: Pesticide exposure, young patient, prostate cancer, survival.