Every extra four inches (10cm) in a man’s height led to a 21 per cent increased risk of developing high-grade deadly tumors – and a 17 per cent greater chance of death from the disease, the study showed.
Larger waistbands were also linked to higher rates of death from prostate cancer, and higher rates of the aggressive form of the disease.
Researchers said there were several reasons why taller men might be at greater risk.
Taller men have more cells overall, as well as larger prostate volumes. In addition, the hormones and foods which promote growth in childhood may increase the risk of prostate cancer, they said.
Each year more than 46,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and around 11,000 die from it.
A lead researcher said: “The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development, for example related to early nutrition and growth.”
The study found that a healthy body weight reduced the chance of death from prostate cancer.
Researchers said obesity might increase the risk because it changes hormone levels which may increase the risk of the disease.
Prostate cancer treatment can involve hormone therapy CREDIT: ALAMY
They also said it was possible that the disease was more deadly in obese men, because it was more difficult to detect, and thus likely to be found at a later stage.
Each four inch increase in waist circumference was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of dying from prostate cancer, and a 13 per cent greater likelihood of having a high-grade disease.
The scientists drew on findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (Epic), a large scale study with 141,896 male participants from eight countries.
They analysed data on 7,024 prostate cancers, including 726 high grade and 1,388 advanced stage cancers, and 934 prostate cancer deaths.
Prostate cancer tumours can be slow growing “pussycats” or aggressive and potentially deadly “tigers”.
The link with height meant a higher chance of cancers that fell into the “tiger” category, as well as a higher risk of deaths from prostate cancer overall, according to a health publication.
A doctor: “These results emphasizes the importance of studying risks for prostate cancer separately by stage and grade of tumor. They may also inform strategies for prevention, but we need to do further work to understand why the differences in risk exist.”
Another researcher said: “It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man’s likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.
“It also underlines once again the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to help defend against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer.”
Susannah Brown, senior scientist at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “This study supports our own research which also found an increased risk of prostate cancer in taller men. The link can be explained by thinking of height as a marker of the growth process that occurs earlier in life.
“While we may not be able to change our height, men can take action to help reduce their risk of advanced prostate cancer by being a healthy weight.
“In fact if every man maintained a healthy weight, about one in 10 cases could be prevented each year.”