In JAMA this week, researchers in Massachusetts and California present findings from a study of the association between smoking and prostate cancer survival and recurrence. The researchers conducted a prospective observational study of 5,366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006 — of the 1,630 deaths, 32 percent were due to prostate cancer. Current smokers had an increased risk of prostate cancer mortality compared to never smokers, the authors write, and greater number of pack-years was associated with significantly increased risk of prostate cancer mortality. "Smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with increased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality and prostate cancer-specific mortality and recurrence," the team says. "Men who have quit for at least 10 years have prostate cancer–specific mortality risks similar to those who have never smoked."
Also in JAMA, researchers in the Netherlands and Iran present work on in vitro propagation of human prepubertal spermatogonial stem cells in prepubescent boys with cancer. Treatment of pediatric cancer has improved but it is often associated with later compromised fertility in survivors, the authors write. Theoretically, it is thought that fertility preservation in male pediatric cancer survivors could be achieved by cryopreserving testicular tissue before cancer therapy and then propagating and autotransplanting spermatogonial stem cells after treatment is complete. The researchers conducted a one-year study, conducting testicular biopsies on two boys, aged 6.5 and 8 years, diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and found they were able to propagate the spermatogonial stem cells in vitro. "Although these results are preliminary and need to be confirmed, they support the potential for autotransplantation of SSCs in infertile survivors of childhood cancer," the authors write. "Given the time between preservation of testicular tissue during childhood and potential SSC autotransplantation later in adult life, it is important to counsel prepubertal boys with cancer on the possibility of cryopreserving testicular tissue before undergoing gonadotoxic cancer treatment."