February 12, 2009 – Seattle, WA: The results of a recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research study reporting that heavy, long-term cannabis use is associated with an elevated risk of a rare form of testicular cancer are preliminary and should be interpreted cautiously, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said today.
The widely reported study, published online on the website of the journal Cancer, assessed the relative risk of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) in 369 men and 979 age-matched controls. Of the 369 cases, 268 reported having smoked cannabis and 97 were current users.
Investigators did not find a statistically significant risk among men diagnosed with TGCT who had “ever used” compared to healthy controls. By contrast, authors did observe an elevated risk of cancer among men who were current weekly use of cannabis, particularly if their use began before eighteen years of age.
Researchers said that this observed association was specific to nonseminoma tumors, a less common type of testicular cancer. Overall, nonseminomas account for fewer than one half of one percent of all cancers among American men.
Investigators cautioned that their findings are preliminary, and argued that “additional studies of TGCTs will be needed to test this hypothesis.”
They also acknowledged that incidences of nonseminomas have not risen in the general public at rates that correspond with the climbing popularity cannabis use. Full article here.