AUA 2012 - Male pattern baldness may be a predictor of prostate cancer - Press Release


Severity of balding a possible risk factor for older men

Researchers found that male pattern baldness may be an independent predictor of prostate cancer. However, baldness combined with finger length ratio is not a predictor, according to a new study of men 59-70 years of age at the 107th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). The study was presented to reporters during a special press conference at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m. Researchers and physicians evaluated several factors in order to diagnose and treat prostate cancer. While further studies are needed to assess whether the inclusion of baldness can contribute to existing prediction models, it warrants consideration.

Androgens (hormones) play a role in the development of male pattern baldness by stunting hair growth. Androgens also play a role in the growth of prostate cells. Another physical attribute, the ratio of the lengths of index and ring fingers (2D:4D) is also a marker of exposure to hormones, with low 2D:4D being indicative of high prenatal androgen action. Previous data have demonstrated an association between male pattern baldness, 2D:4D ratio and prostate cancer. This study aimed to validate these findings in a prospective cohort.

Researchers from Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network in Toronto, Canada prospectively enrolled 214 consecutive patients referred to a prostate biopsy and measured finger lengths to determine the 2D:4D ratio. Male pattern baldness was assessed on a scale of 0-4, with 0 being the least amount of balding and 4 being the most severe. A univariable and multivariable analysis was then performed to associate 2D:4D ratio and male pattern baldness with prostate cancer diagnosis at biopsy.

On univariable analysis, male pattern baldness was associated with prostate cancer (p for trend=0.03), however, 2D:4D ratio was not. A dose response effect was noted, showing that more severe balding patterns were more strongly associated with prostate cancer (frontal balding 1.3 (95% CI 0.9-2.8); mild vortex OR 1.9 (95% CI 0.99-4.8); moderate vortex 2.4 (95% CI 1.01-6.2); severe vortex 2.5 (95% CI 1.1-5.5). On multivariable analysis, male pattern baldness remained a significant predictor of prostate cancer.

“Identifying predictors for prostate cancer is vital to improving diagnosis and patient outcomes,” said Tobias Kohler, MD, a member of the AUA Public Media Committee. “Upon further research and verification, it is entirely possible that male pattern baldness could be another factor to include in future prediction models.”

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 18,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.


American Urological Association