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Prostate Cancer
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 819010, 8 pages
Review Article

Environment as a Potential Key Determinant of the Continued Increase of Prostate Cancer Incidence in Martinique

1Paris Descartes University, 75015 Paris, France
2Clinical Cancer Research Department, European Cancer and Environment Research Institute (ECERI), 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
3Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer (ARTAC), 75015 Paris, France

Received 12 January 2011; Revised 16 June 2011; Accepted 12 September 2011

Academic Editor: Cathryn H. Bock

Copyright © 2011 Dominique Belpomme and Philippe Irigaray. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Prostate cancer incidence is steadily increasing in many developed countries. Because insular populations present unique ethnic, geographical, and environmental characteristics, we analyzed the evolution of prostate cancer age-adjusted world standardized incidence rates in Martinique in comparison with that of metropolitan France. We also compared prostate cancer incidence rates, and lifestyle-related and socioeconomic markers such as life expectancy, dietary energy, and fat supply and consumption, with those in other Caribbean islands, France, UK, Sweden, and USA. The incidence rate of prostate cancer in Martinique is one of the highest reported worldwide; it is continuously growing since 1985 in an exponential mode, and despite a similar screening detection process and lifestyle-related behaviour, it is constantly at a higher level than in metropolitan France. However, Caribbean populations that are genetically close to that of Martinique have generally much lower incidence of prostate cancer. We found no correlation between prostate cancer incidence rates, life expectancy, and diet westernization. Since the Caribbean African descent-associated genetic susceptibility factor would have remained constant during the 1980–2005, we suggest that in Martinique some environmental change including the intensive use of carcinogenic organochlorine pesticides might have occurred as key determinant of the persisting highly growing incidence of prostate cancer.