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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Sep;17(9):2374-81. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0173.

Sexually transmissible infections and prostate cancer risk.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Sexually transmissible infections (STI) have been variably associated with increased risks of prostate cancer, largely in case-control studies.


In the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, we examined risk of prostate cancer in relation to serum antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis, human papillomavirus-16 and -18, herpes simplex virus-2, cytomegalovirus, and human herpesvirus-8 in 868 cases (765 Whites and 103 Blacks) and 1,283 controls matched by race, age, time since initial screening, and year of blood draw; all blood samples were collected at least 1 year before prostate cancer diagnosis, except for 43 Black cases. We also assessed risk associated with self-reported history of syphilis and gonorrhea.


Prevalences of the 7 STIs among controls were weakly correlated, and all were more frequent among Blacks than Whites, except for human herpesvirus-8. Among Whites, prostate cancer risk was not significantly associated with the individual infections or with their number (P(trend) = 0.1); however, men with one or more STI had slightly higher risk (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-1.6). Among Blacks, excess risk was associated with IgA antibody to C. trachomatis (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-3.6).


This large prospective study of prostate cancer shows no consistent association with specific STIs and a borderline association with any versus none. Whether a shared response or correlated infection not directly measured underlies the weak association requires further study.

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