5 Types Of Bacteria Worsen Prostate Cancer
A landmark study has identified five types of bacteria associated with aggressive prostate cancer.
Photo Insert: Five types of bacteria were ultimately found to be associated with the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer, three of those were entirely new species.
It is unclear at this stage whether the bacteria are directly causing the cancer but researchers say they can develop new tests to identify aggressive prostate cancer by tracking the presence of these bacteria.
"We already know of some strong associations between infections and cancer,” explained Colin Cooper, lead researcher on the project.
“For example, the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the digestive tract can lead to stomach ulcers and is associated with stomach cancer, and some types of the HPV virus can cause cervical cancer. We wanted to find out whether bacteria could be linked to the way prostate cancer grows and spreads," Rich Haridy reported recently for New Atlas.
To investigate the relationship between bacteria and prostate cancer the researchers gathered prostate tissue and urine samples from more than 600 men. A variety of methods were deployed to detect bacteria in the samples, from whole genome DNA sequencing to anaerobic culture and fluorescent microscopy.
Five types of bacteria were ultimately found to be associated with the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer, three of those were entirely new species. The presence of one or more of these bacteria could be linked with the more rapid progression of the disease.
The study at the University of East Anglia in the UK was published in the journal European Urology Oncology.
Rachel Hurst, the first author of the new study, stressed it is still early days for the research and the findings raise plenty of novel questions. Even if the link between these bacteria and prostate cancer is verified in future studies it isn’t yet understood if the relationship is causal.
"We also identified potential biological mechanisms of how these bacteria may be linked to cancer,” noted Hurst. "Among the things we don't yet know is how people pick up these bacteria, whether they are causing the cancer, or whether a poor immune response permits the growth of the bacteria.”