Androgenetic alopecia and risk of prostate cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:February 11, 2013DOI:


      Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a genetically determined skin condition strongly age dependent and androgens are assumed to play an important role in its development. A link between AGA and prostate cancer has been hypothesized because of their similar risk factors.


      We sought to systematically review the evidence available on the association between AGA and risk of prostate cancer.


      We searched the electronic databases MEDLINE and Cochrane for studies examining the association between AGA and risk of prostate cancer. We estimated pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals. We also analyzed the OR for individual hair loss patterns, as defined by the Hamilton scale.


      A total of 7 case-control studies including 8994 patients–4078 cases and 4916 controls–were reviewed. One cohort study was identified but did not meet our inclusion criteria. There was statistically significant association between vertex baldness and prostate cancer (OR 1.25; 95% confidence interval 1.09-1.44; Z = 3.13; P = .002). No statistically significant association between AGA (any pattern) and prostate cancer was identified (OR 1.03; 95% confidence interval 0.93-1.13; Z = 0.55; P = .58).


      Only case-control studies, which may be subject to bias, met the inclusion criteria for this meta-analysis.


      Vertex pattern AGA was associated with a significant increased risk of prostate cancer. Any pattern AGA did not show a significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer.

      Key words

      Abbreviations used:

      AGA (androgenetic alopecia), CI (confidence interval), I2 (degree of inconsistency), IGF (insulin-like growth factor), OR (odds ratio), RR (relative risk)
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