Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

April 18, 2014, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Credit: Wikipedia

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

The link between and cancer was even stronger for with so-called high-grade prostate cancer—those with a Gleason score between 7 and 10—indicating the presence of the most aggressive and rapidly growing prostate cancers.

"What we've shown in this observational study is a clear association between prostate inflammation and prostate cancer, although we can't prove that inflammation is a cause of prostate cancer," said Elizabeth A. Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Medicine.

Cancer researcher Angelo M. De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D., cautioned that inflammation is too widespread in men to be used as a diagnostic tool for prostate cancer. However, researchers want to know more about what causes prostate inflammation, how it may contribute to prostate cancer, and whether this inflammation may be prevented. "I think there will be strategies going forward for either preventing inflammation or intervening when it occurs," Platz said.

The findings, reported April 18 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, come from analysis of information about men in the placebo-taking group of the Southwest Oncology Group's Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. That trial, designed to learn whether the drug finasteride could prevent prostate cancer, included biopsies for prostate cancer at the end of the study even if there were no suspicious signs of cancer such as high prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.

Researchers have examined possible links between inflammation and prostate cancer in other studies, but the previous studies began by sampling tissue from men who had some cause to undergo a biopsy, Platz explained. "Our study was designed to rule out the bias that would ordinarily exist between the way we detect prostate cancer and the presence of inflammation."

"Because inflammation makes PSA levels go up, men with inflammation are more likely to have higher PSA and, with a rising PSA, they're more likely to be biopsied," she said. "By doing more biopsies on these men, prostate cancer is more likely to be detected, even if inflammation is not a cause of prostate cancer."

For the study, Platz, De Marzo and colleagues examined benign tissue samples taken from the biopsies of 191 men with prostate cancer and 209 men without cancer, examining the samples for the prevalence and extent of immune cells that indicate inflammation. They found that 86.2 percent of the prostate cancer patients had at least one tissue sample with signs of inflammation, compared to 78.2 percent of men without cancer.

"We knew going into this research that inflammation in the prostate is very common in men who have biopsies because of the higher PSA levels and other indicators of prostate cancer," said De Marzo, who is a professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins' School of Medicine and associate director of cancer research pathology at its Kimmel Cancer Center, "but we did not anticipate the high prevalence of in men who didn't have an indication for biopsy."

Ultimately, men with at least one tissue sample showing signs of had 1.78 times higher odds of having , and 2.24 times higher odds of having an aggressive cancer, the researchers concluded. The association held firm even in men with low PSA levels at the time of their biopsies.

The Johns Hopkins team is studying the relationship between PSA levels and detailed measures of inflammation in men with no indications for a prostate biopsy, as well as a potential link between sexually transmitted disease history and the amount of in the prostate.

Explore further: Study finds prostate cancer tests underestimate disease in half of cases

Related Stories

Study finds prostate cancer tests underestimate disease in half of cases

April 11, 2014
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that tests to grade and stage prostate cancer underestimated the severity of the disease in half of men whose cancers had been classified as 'slow growing'.

Inflammation in prostate may reduce cancer risk

December 9, 2013
Doctors at the North Shore-LIJ Health System have discovered that increased inflammation in the prostate may predict reduced risk for prostate cancer. The findings are published online in Cancer.

Added prostate CA criteria may help ID surveillance candidates

January 24, 2014
(HealthDay)—Additional predictors, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) density and extent of cancer on biopsy, help guide selection of prostate cancer patients for active surveillance programs, according to research ...

New early detection test for prostate cancer: Mi-Prostate Score test improves on PSA for predicting cancer

September 26, 2013
More than 1 million men will undergo a prostate biopsy this year, but only about one-fifth of those biopsies will result in a cancer diagnosis.

PSA-testing and early treatment decreases risk of prostate cancer death

March 10, 2014
Mortality in prostate cancer is lower in areas with frequent use of PSA testing compared with areas with little testing shows a study published online today in Journal of the National Cancer Institute by researchers from ...

Blood clue to prostate cancer recurrence

April 14, 2014
Men with blood group O are far less likely to suffer a recurrence of cancer after prostate tumour surgery than men with other blood types, researchers reported on Monday.

Recommended for you

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.