12 Nov 2014

No link between vasectomy and prostate cancer

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AUA: No link between vasectomy, Prostate Cancer risk

The American Urological Association has refuted findings from a recent study that reported a modest association between vasectomy and lethal prostate cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2014; 32:3033-8), reported an association between vasectomy and lethal prostate cancer (defined as prostate cancer leading to death or metastases) in a sub-group of men highly screened for the disease.

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Following the study’s publication, it received “continued media coverage” and “caused anxiety among many of the millions of men who already underwent vasectomies and those who are considering the procedure,” the AUA said in a statement.

The AUA’s Vasectomy Guideline Panel concluded in 2012 that there is no association between vasectomy and prostate cancer or other significant health risks. The committee’s 2012 guideline also says there is no need for physicians to routinely discuss prostate cancer in their preoperative counseling of vasectomy patients.

Following the publication of the Journal of Clinical Oncology study, the AUA Vasectomy Guideline Panel reviewed that study as well as additional literature published since the release of the 2012 guideline. Additionally, a new meta-analysis was completed that included both the previously reported literature from the 2012 guideline as well as the newly incorporated publication.

The review of the Journal of Clinical Oncology article identified:

  • methodologic limitations regarding its ability to properly evaluate the risks of lethal prostate cancer
  • inconsistencies with previous reports on the same cohort of men
  • a risk of bias due to potential residual confounding factors.

“These issues raise doubts about the validity of the results reported in the JCO article,” the AUA said in the statement.

The AUA said the new meta-analysis produced results that were very similar to the results of the original meta-analysis reviewed in the 2012 guideline, with the overall conclusion that vasectomy is not associated with and is not a risk factor for prostate cancer.

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