HealthDay News — Early-onset androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, may be a marker of urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, study data published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicate.

“There is a relationship between the presence of AGA and prostate growth-associated urinary symptoms, likely attributable to their pathophysiological similarity,” Salvador Arias-Santiago, MD, PhD, of San Cecilio University in Granada, Spain, and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The researchers conducted an observational case-control study of 45 men with early-onset AGA, diagnosed in the dermatology department and 42 control subjects. They measured prostatic volume using transrectal ultrasound, and urinary flow with urinary flowmetry. A hormone study was performed on all participants, and the International Prostate Symptom Score and International Index of Erectile Function score were assessed. Cases and controls did not significantly vary in mean age (cases, 52.7 years; controls, 49.8 years)

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Patients with AGA had significantly higher mean prostate volume (29.65 vs 20.24 mL, P < .0001), International Prostate Symptom Score (4.93 vs 1.23, P < .0001) and prostate-specific antigen levels (1.53 vs 0.94 ng/mL, P < .0001), the researchers found. Those with AGA also had significantly lower maximum urinary flow compared to the controls (14.5 vs 22.45 mL/s, P < .0001).

A strong association was observed between the presence of AGA and benign prostatic hyperplasia after adjusting for potential confounding variables, including age, urinary volume, urination time, International Prostate Symptom Score, abdominal obesity, glucose levels, systolic BP, insulin levels, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein (odds ratio=5.14; P = .041).

“Future studies may clarify whether treatment of patients with AGA may benefit the concomitant benign prostatic hypertrophy, which would be present at an earlier stage in its natural evolution,” the researchers wrote.

Arias-Santiago S et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012;66:401-408.