A recent study shows that men might be more vulnerable to prostate cancer if they have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease.
Those who have acquired trichomoniasis, an STD caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, were slightly more likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to those who were not affected by this STD. However, more importantly, the study suggests that the STD might result in a formation of a more aggressive prostate cancer as Lorelei A. Mucci, epidemiologist and co-author of the study states that “they were nearly three times as likely to die of the disease once they had prostate cancer. Our finding suggests that infection may make prostate cancers more aggressive and more likely to progress. ”
The study included analysis of 673 men who developed prostate cancer and 673 men who did not. The patients were also examined to see if other environmental factors were affecting the results such as age or smoking status. Some of the 673 men who developed prostate cancer had an account of trichomoniasis as confirmed by their blood samples.
A previous study done by Mucci and his colleagues on Sept. 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also reported similar findings: a link between STD trichomoniasis and aggressive prostate cancer.
Although the two studies had similar results, there are many doubts as the aggression of prostate cancer could be caused by inflammation, which is the result of an infection. Moreover, previous studies have not found a link between STDs and prostate cancer; however, these studies did not have the lengthy and scrutinizing follow-up like the newer studies, according to Durado Brook, MD, MPH and director of prostate cancer at the American Cancer Society.
“We can say from this study that there may be a link between this sexually transmitted infection and more aggressive prostate cancer, but more research is needed to confirm this,” he says. However, researchers remain hopeful as an affirmation of this link can provide insight into the aggression level of prostate cancers.