Vasectomy and prostate cancer risk: methodological review of the evidence.J Clin Epidemiol 1993; 46(2):163-72JC
Two recent studies have reported a significantly elevated risk of prostate cancer among vasectomized men. To assess whether the new results conflict with earlier studies that found no significant overall association, and, if so, whether such a conflict could have a methodological basis, we reviewed the six major epidemiological studies of this topic. Statistical analysis revealed significant (p < 0.01) heterogeneity among the associations in the six studies, attributable to one of the recent studies. Scrutiny of the studies for fulfillment of eight methodological standards for scientific validity revealed that no study completely fulfilled more than four standards, and that all studies were deficient in avoiding detection bias and obtaining accurate vasectomy histories. Our review indicates that the evidence on this topic is indeed conflicting, that the quality of the evidence does not resolve the conflict, and that future studies of this topic, designed to ensure scientific credibility of results, are needed.