Striking geographic variations in prostate cancer incidence suggest an aetiological role for spatially-distributed factors. We assessed whether neighbourhood social deprivation, which can reflect limited social contacts, unfavourable lifestyle and environmental exposures, is associated with prostate cancer risk.
In 2005–2012, we recruited 1931 incident prostate cancer cases and 1994 controls in a case–control study in Montreal, Canada. Lifetime residential addresses were linked to an area-based social deprivation index around recruitment (2006) and about 10 years earlier (1996). Logistic regression estimated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Men residing in areas characterised by greater social deprivation had elevated prostate cancer risks (ORs of 1.54 and 1.60 for recent and past exposures, respectively; highest vs lowest quintiles), independently from area- and individual-level confounders and screening patterns. The increase in risk with recent high social deprivation was particularly elevated for high-grade prostate cancer at diagnosis (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.32–2.64). Associations were more pronounced for neighbourhoods with higher proportions of separated/divorced or widowed individuals in the past, and with higher percentages of residents living alone recently.
These novel findings, suggesting that neighbourhood-level social deprivation increases the risk of prostate cancer, point out to potential targeted public health interventions.
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The data that support the findings of this study are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author, in keeping with ethics regulations. The data are not publicly available for confidentiality reasons.
Code is available from the authors upon request.
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The authors would like to thank all members of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit at INRS-Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie who were involved in the conduct of the study. In particular, we want to highlight the contribution of Hughes Richard in the preparation of the databases. We also thank the urologists from the participating hospitals for their collaboration in patients’ access.
This work was supported financially by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grant CCP-155423) and the Canadian Cancer Society (grant 705562). CS held doctoral training awards from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Salmon, C., Quesnel-Vallée, A., Barnett, T.A. et al. Neighbourhood social deprivation and risk of prostate cancer. Br J Cancer 129, 335–345 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-023-02299-7