A study looking at risk factors for prostate cancer - The Birmingham Prostate Cancer Association Study of environmental and genetic factors in prostate cancer (BiPAS)

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Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study looked at lifestyle and genetic factors that may increase risk of prostate cancer. This study was supported by Cancer Research UK.

In this study the researchers hoped to find, and learn more about, possible prostate cancer risk factors such as diet, physical activity, exposure to the sun and occupation. They also hoped to find genes that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The aim of this study was to increase our understanding of what causes prostate cancer.

Summary of results

The research team found a number of factors that increased and decreased the risk of men developing prostate cancer.

This study recruited a total of 1,071 men,

  • 314 men having treatment for prostate cancer
  • 381 men who had a high PSA level and were being monitored (active surveillance)
  • 376 men without prostate cancer

The research team looked at a number of factors that they thought may increase or decrease prostate cancer risk.

They found that these things were associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer

  • High exposure to sunlight in early adulthood
  • High intensity exercise
  • Cycling
  • Being overweight - having a body mass index (BMI Open a glossary item) between 25 and 29.9

And these things were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer

  • Low exposure to sunlight in early adulthood
  • High levels of low intensity exercise such as walking or gardening
  • Having ever played competitive sport
  • Being obese (having a BMI over 30), and in particular being obese as a young adult

They looked at genetic changes in 277 of the men having treatment for prostate cancer, and 282 of the men having active surveillance. They did find one gene that they think decreases the risk of developing prostate cancer, but this needs to be looked at in more detail.

They also looked at information about more than 28,000 men from 17 different studies to find out if the jobs the men did affected their risk of prostate cancer. This is called a meta analysis. They didn’t find a link between prostate cancer and any of the occupations. Any changes they found were likely to have been due to chance, and were not statistically significant Open a glossary item.

The research team concluded that there are several factors that may increase or decrease risk of prostate cancer. Some factors were more strongly associated with prostate cancer than others, and they need to do further work to find out more about them.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the study.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the study team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Maurice Zeegers

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Other information

This study is Cancer Research UK study number CRUK/07/069.

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 652

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

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"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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