Prostate tissues from patients with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) frequently contain histological inflammation, and a proportion of these patients show evidence of Propionibacterium acnes infection in the prostate gland. We developed a multicolor fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay targeting P. acnes 23S rRNA along with a 14-kb region of the P. acnes genome. This assay was used to analyze prostate tissues from patients with prostate cancer and BPH. P. acnes infection of the prostate gland was demonstrated in prostatic tissue in 5 of 10 randomly selected prostate cancer patients. FISH analysis and confocal laser microscopy imaging revealed intracellular localization and stromal biofilm-like aggregates as common forms of P. acnes infection in prostate tissues from both prostate cancer and BPH patients. A sequential analysis of prostate tissue from individual patients suggested that P. acnes can persist for up to 6 years in the prostate gland. These results indicate that P. acnes can establish a persistent infection in the prostate gland. Further study is needed to clarify the link between this bacterium and prostatic inflammation which may contribute to the development of BPH and prostate cancer.
Alexeyev, O. A., Marklund, I., Shannon, B., Golovleva, I., Olsson, J., Andersson, C., ... Elgh, F. (2007). Direct visualization of Propionibacterium acnes in prostate tissue by multicolor fluorescent in situ hybridization assay. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 45(11), 3721-3728. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01543-07