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BACKGROUND: The determinants of prostate cancer--aside from established but non-modifiable risk factors of increased age, black ethnicity, and a positive family history--are poorly understood. METHODS: We examined the association of a series of baseline socioeconomic, behavioral, and metabolic characteristics with the risk of prostate cancer mortality in a 40-year follow-up of study members from the original Whitehall cohort study. During this period there were 578 prostate cancer deaths in 17,934 men. RESULTS: After adjustment for a series of baseline covariates, results from proportional hazards regression analyses indicated that marital status (hazard ratio; 95% confidence interval: widowed/divorced vs. married: 1.44; 0.95, 2.18), raised blood cholesterol (tertile 3 vs. 1: 1.35; 1.11, 1.65), and increased physical stature (tertile 3 vs. 1: 1.37; 1.09, 1.74) were associated with death from prostate cancer, although statistical significance at conventional levels was not apparent in all analyses. There was no evidence that physical activity, smoking habit, socio-economic status, component of either blood pressure or diabetes predicted the risk of death from this malignancy herein. CONCLUSIONS: In the present study, there was a suggestion that marital status, blood cholesterol, and height were risk indices for death from prostate cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Causes Control

Publication Date





311 - 318


Adult, Aged, Carcinoma, Cohort Studies, Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, London, Male, Middle Aged, Prostatic Neoplasms, Risk Factors, Time Factors