Appetite-regulating hormones-leptin, adiponectin and ghrelin-and the development of prostate cancer: a systematic review and exploratory meta-analysis.

Zoe Angel, Isabel Iguacel, Amy Mullee, Neela Guha, Rachel Wasson, Declan J McKenna, Marc Gunter, Vitaly Smelov, Inge Huybrechts

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Obesity has been proposed as a risk factor for prostate cancer (PCa). In obesity, serum levels of the appetite-regulating hormones-leptin, adiponectin, and ghrelin-become deregulated.

To explore whether serum levels of appetite-regulating hormones associate with the incidence of PCa, the incidence of advanced disease, or PCa-specific mortality.

PRISMA guidelines were followed. A systematic search for relevant articles published until March 2019 was performed using the databases PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science. Observational studies with data on serum levels of leptin, adiponectin, or ghrelin and PCa outcome were included. Meta-analysis was used to combine risk estimates. Meta-relative risks (mRRs) were calculated using random effects models. When available, raw data was pooled. Publication bias was assessed by funnel plot and Begg's test.

Thirty-five studies were eligible for inclusion. The qualitative analysis indicated that leptin was not consistently associated with any PCa outcome, although several cohorts reported decreased adiponectin levels in men who later developed advanced PCa. Based on the meta-analysis, there was no significant effect of leptin on PCa incidence (mRR = 0.93 (95% CI 0.75-1.16), p = 0.52) or advanced PCa (mRR = 0.90 (95% CI 0.74-1.10), p = 0.30). There were insufficient studies to estimate the mRR of PCa incidence for men with the highest levels of adiponectin. The combined risk of advanced PCa for men with the highest levels of adiponectin was reduced but did not reach significance (mRR = 0.81 (95% CI 0.61-1.08), p = 0.15).

The current evidence does not suggest an association between leptin and PCa outcome. However, there may be an inverse association between adiponectin and the incidence of advanced PCa that should be investigated by further studies. Serum ghrelin has not been largely investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalProstate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases
Early online date30 May 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Mar 2020


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