Study led by Indian-American physician says IBD ups prostate cancer risk

indica News Bureau –


A team of researchers in the US led by Indian-origin physician Shilajit Kundu have found that inflammatory bowel disease increases the risk of prostate cancer by four-to-five times.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

It leads to a variety of recurring symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, blood in stools and weight loss.

The 20-year-long study published in the journal European Urology found that 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.

“These patients may need to be screened more carefully than a man without inflammatory bowel disease,” said lead study author Dr. Shilajit Kundu.

“If a man with inflammatory bowel disease has an elevated PSA, it may be an indicator of prostate cancer,” Kundu added.

Kundu is an associate professor of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician. He also is 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 doctors think their (patient’s) PSA is elevated just because they have an inflammatory condition,” Kundu said. He also said that there is no data to guide how one should treat such patients.

The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in men which is responsible for producing seminal fluid which nourishes and transports sperm.

Medical experts say that the growth of prostate cancer is comparatively slow, and is confined to the prostate gland. However, some type of prostate cancer may be aggressive and may spread quickly.

For the extensive study, researchers 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.

An earlier study led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood.

The incidence of IBD, including pediatric cases, is on the rise in India, according to a recent paper published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, which said that ten in every 1,00,000 children suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

According to doctors, there are different levels of treatment that are prescribed based on the severity of IBD. Anti-inflammatory drugs like mesalamine are usually used as the first line of medication, but therapy may be escalated to steroids and stem cell therapy.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) says that prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among males in large Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram, and third in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai.

ICMR projection data shows that the number of cases will double by 2020.

Oncologists say that the key to successfully treating prostate cancer is early detection until it is still confined to the prostate gland.

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