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BJU Int. 2014 Dec;114(6b):E90-E98. doi: 10.1111/bju.12741. Epub 2014 May 28.

Circumcision and prostate cancer: a population-based case-control study in Montréal, Canada.

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INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, Canada.
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
University of Montréal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), Montréal, Canada.



To investigate the possible association between circumcision and prostate cancer risk, to examine whether age at circumcision influences prostate cancer risk, and to determine whether race modifies the circumcision-prostate cancer relationship.


PROtEuS (Prostate Cancer and Environment Study), a population-based case-control study set amongst the mainly French-speaking population in Montréal, Canada, was used to address study objectives. The study included 1590 pathologically confirmed prostate cancer cases diagnosed in a Montréal French hospital between 2005 and 2009, and 1618 population controls ascertained from the French electoral list, frequency-matched to cases by age. In-person interviews elicited information on sociodemographic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between circumcision, age at circumcision and prostate cancer risk, adjusting for age, ancestry, family history of prostate cancer, prostate cancer screening history, education, and history of sexually transmitted infections.


Circumcised men had a slightly lower risk, albeit not statistically significant, of developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.76-1.04). Circumcision was found to be protective in men circumcised aged ≥36 years (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.30-0.98). A weaker protective effect was seen among men circumcised within 1 year of birth (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.72-1.04). The strongest protective effect of circumcision was recorded in Black men (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19-0.86, P-value for interaction 0.02) but no association was found with other ancestral groups.


Our findings provide novel evidence for a protective effect of circumcision against prostate cancer development, especially in those circumcised aged ≥36 years; although circumcision before the age of 1 year may also confer protection. Circumcision appeared to be protective only among Black men, a group that has the highest rate of disease. Further research into the differences in effect of circumcision on prostate cancer risk by ancestry is warranted, as is the influence of age at circumcision.


ancestry; circumcision; prostate cancer

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