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Aggressive prostate cancer risk from STD

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A new study confirms previous findings that the sexually transmitted disease (STD), Trichomonas vaginalis increases risk of prostate cancer. The findings also showed that the STD is linked to more aggressive prostate cancer.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston studied 673 cases of prostate cancer, taken from the Physicians' Health Study. The researchers matched 673 subjects as a control group, testing plasma for antibodies against the STD Trichomonas vaginalis. Included in the analysis were deaths from prostate cancer, spread outside of the prostate to bone, and incident prostate cancer.

The results supported previous findings that prostate cancer risk significantly increases in association with Trichomonas vaginalis infection – shown in studies by testing for the antibodies. The STD also can lead to metastasis and death from prostate cancer.

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The authors write, "If our findings are confirmed, T. vaginalis could serve as a marker for adverse outcomes in patients for prostate cancer or, more optimistically as a target for secondary chemoprevention.”

Peter C. Albertsen, M.D., of the University of Connecticut Health Center, in Farmington, Conn writes in an editorial to the study, published September 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, "Unfortunately, an unintended consequence of prostate-antigen testing is the large number of men diagnosed with incidental disease that now confounds our ability to identify potential causes of clinically significant disease."

A recent study links the XMRV retrovirus to aggressive prostate cancer. Variables among prostate cancer progression and severity require more research.

The new study supports previous findings that Trichomonas vaginalis may also be linked to poor outcomes for men with prostate cancer. It also supports previous findings that the STD is a risk factor for developing prostate cancer.

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute