U.S. researchers say they found a link between the herbicide Agent Orange used
heavily during the Vietnam War and aggressive prostate cancer.
Dr. Mark Garzotto of the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center and
Oregon Health & Science University said prior research suggested exposure to
Agent Orange might increase men's risk of developing prostate cancer, but it was
unclear whether it specifically increased their risk of developing the lethal
form of the disease.
"This is an important distinction as the majority of prostate cancer cases are
non-lethal and thus do not necessarily require detection or therapy," Garzotto
said in a statement. "Having a means of specifically detecting life-threatening
cancer would improve the effectiveness of screening and treatment of prostate
Nathan Ansbaugh designed and conducted analyses on a group of 2,720 U.S.
veterans referred by multiple providers for initial prostate biopsy.
Biopsy results and clinical information were compiled for analysis by Garzotto.
The study, published online ahead of the print edition of the journal Cancer,
found Agent Orange exposure was linked with a 52 percent increase in overall
risk of prostate cancer detection by biopsy. Exposure to the herbicide did not
confer an increase in risk of low-grade prostate cancer, but it was linked with
a 75 percent increase in risk of the aggressive prostate cancer, the study said.
In addition, Agent Orange exposure was associated with more than a two-fold
increase in the most lethal cancers.