Dying for love: Perimenopausal degeneration of vaginal microbiome drives the chronic inflammation-malignant transformation of benign prostatic hyperplasia to prostatic adenocarcinoma

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    Abstract

    Prostatic carcinoma is the second commonest cancer in males and is so common as to become almost holoendemic with advancing age. The recent demonstration that far from being benign, “benign” prostatic hypertrophy is a likely a reaction of the prostate to chronic untreated lower genital tract infection, and that this chronic inflammation is likely the usual precursor to the frequent occurrence of prostatic carcinoma has far reaching implications. The obvious source for the chronic inflammatory stimulus in the prostate is the documented dramatically altered lower female genital microbiota associated with the menopause. Hence the major hypothesis is that prostatic cancer may arise due to chronic infection and inflammation in the prostate gland consequent upon the altered microbiome of the menopausal female genital tract. This has implications for testing and diagnosis, treatment, population health and personal hygiene practices. It suggests that male dyspareunia, although almost never encountered in clinical practice may in fact be relatively common in older males, and in particular if diagnosed, represents a critical opportunity for therapeutic intervention to interrupt the chronic inflammation – cancer transformation and progression which has been well documented in other tissues. It implies that the coordinated application of next generation sequencing to the microbiome of the lower genital tracts of male and female couples, including seminal fluid, will have both research applications to further explore this sequence, as well as finding application as a potential population level screening procedure as is presently done for the “Thin Prep” cervical screening for human papillomavirus in females. Moreover this insight opens up new opportunities for chemointervention and chemoprevention for this important clinicopathological progression. These considerations give rise to the exciting possibility that prostatic malignancy may be preventable by various methods of local hygiene in the female partner or some antibacterial method in males. Since the long term application of oral antibiotics is likely to be of limited efficacy this indicates the need for new antimicrobial solutions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-47
    Number of pages4
    JournalMedical Hypotheses
    Volume101
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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