Finger length predicts prostate cancer risk: study

Dec 01, 2010

Men whose index fingers are longer than their ring, or fourth, fingers run a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the British Journal of Cancer.

The chances of developing the disease drop by a third, and even more in younger men, the study found.

"Our results show that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for risk, particularly in men aged under 60," said Ros Eeles, a professor at the Institute of in Britain and co-author of the study.

Finger pattern could help identify which men should undergo regular screening, especially in combination with genetic testing or other risk factors such as a family history of the disease, she said.

From 1994 to 2009, Eeles and colleagues questioned more than 1,500 prostate cancer patients in Britain, along with 3,000 healthy control cases.

For more than half the men, the index was shorter than the ring finger. Compared to this group, men whose index and ring fingers were the same length -- 19 percent of the cohort -- had a similar prostate cancer risk.

But when the index finger was longer, the risk of developing the disease dropped by 33 percent.

Men under 60 were 87 percent less likely to be in the cancer group.

The relative length of the two fingers in question -- set before birth -- appears to be a marker of different levels of to which a baby is exposed in the womb, with less testosterone correlating with a longer index finger.

Earlier research has shown that testosterone promotes the growth of prostate cancer.

Underlying the unexpected connection between digits and cancer are two genes, HOXA and HOXD, that control both finger length and the development of sex organs.

Other studies have found a link between exposure to hormones before birth and the development of other diseases, including and osteoarthritis.

Explore further: Prosocial internet support group not beneficial for breast cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Genetic marker may predict early onset of prostate cancer

May 15, 2009

Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have identified a genetic marker that is associated with an earlier onset of prostate cancer in Caucasian men who have a family history of prostate cancer. If the data are confirmed, the ...

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

Nov 21, 2014

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

Nov 21, 2014

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.