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Am J Public Health. 2010 Apr;100(4):693-701. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.150508. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Smoking as a risk factor for prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of 24 prospective cohort studies.

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  • 1Meta-Analysis Research Group, Columbia, SC 29209, USA.



We evaluated the relationship between smoking and adenocarcinoma of the prostate.


We pooled data from 24 cohort studies enrolling 21 579 prostate cancer case participants for a general variance-based meta-analysis. Summary relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated separately for mortality and incidence studies. We tested the robustness of effect measures and evaluated statistical heterogeneity with sensitivity analyses.


In the pooled data, current smokers had no increased risk of incident prostate cancer (RR = 1.04; 95% CI = 0.87, 1.24), but in data stratified by amount smoked they had statistically significant elevated risk (cigarettes per day or years: RR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.01, 1.46; pack years of smoking: RR = 1.11; 95% CI = 1.01, 1.22). Former smokers had an increased risk (RR = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.16). Current smokers had an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer (RR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.06, 1.19). The heaviest smokers had a 24% to 30% greater risk of death from prostate cancer than did nonsmokers.


Observational cohort studies show an association of smoking with prostate cancer incidence and mortality. Ill-defined exposure categories in many cohort studies suggest that pooled data underestimate risk.

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