American Journal of Epidemiology
We used male pattern baldness as a proxy for long-term androgen exposure and investigated the association of dermatologist-assessed hair loss with prostate cancer–specific mortality in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. From the baseline survey (1971–1974), we included 4,316 men who were 25–74 years of age and had no prior cancer diagnosis. We estimated hazard ratios and used Cox proportional hazards regressions with age as the time metric and baseline hazard stratified by baseline age. A hybrid framework was used to account for stratification and clustering of the sample design, with adjustment for the variables used to calculate sample weights. During follow-up (median, 21 years), 3,284 deaths occurred; prostate cancer was the underlying cause of 107. In multivariable models, compared with no balding, any baldness was associated with a 56% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer (hazard ratio = 1.56; 95% confidence interval: 1.02, 2.37), and moderate balding specifically was associated with an 83% higher risk (hazard ratio = 1.83; 95% confidence interval: 1.15, 2.92). Conversely, patterned hair loss was not statistically significantly associated with all-cause mortality. Our analysis suggests that patterned hair loss is associated with a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer and supports the hypothesis of overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms.
epub ahead of print