Vasectomy may not be associated with subsequent high-grade, advanced-stage, or fatal prostate cancer, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.

Vasectomy is a highly effective long term method of contraception. Previous studies have provided conflicting data that there is a correlation with prostate cancer and vasectomy, and despite decades of study there have been no conclusions.

This meta-analysis had the pooled data from 4 cross-sectional studies including 12,098,221 patients, 16 cohort studies with 2,562,519 patients, and 33 case-control studies including 44,536 patients who underwent vasectomy. The primary outcome of the study measured was any diagnosis of prostate cancer, and secondary outcomes measured was diagnosis of high-grade, advanced, and fatal prostate cancer.

A weakly significant association between vasectomy and prostate cancer was found in the cohort studies (7 studies; adjusted rate ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.09; P <.001; i2 = 9%), while the case-control studies reported similar, but nonsignificant, findings (6 studies; adjusted odds ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.88-1.29; P =.54; i2 = 37%).

There were also no significant associations observed between vasectomy and high-grade prostate cancer (6 studies; adjusted rate ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.89-1.21; P =.67; i2 = 55%), advanced prostate cancer (6 studies; adjusted rate ratio, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.98-1.20; P =.11; i2 = 18%), and fatal prostate cancer (5 studies; adjusted rate ratio, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.92-1.14; P =.68; i2 = 26%).

The researchers conclude that “although patients should be appropriately counseled, concerns about the risk of prostate cancer should not preclude clinicians from offering vasectomy to couples seeking long-term contraception.”

Reference

1. Bhindi B, Wallis C, Nayan M, et al. The association between vasectomy and prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. [published online July 17, 2017]. JAMA Intern Med. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2791