Significant differences in gut microbiota of men with prostate cancer, study finds

A new study reveals there’s a notable difference in the gut microbiota of men with prostate cancer to those who have benign biopsies. Researchers from the University of Turku made the discovery.

Researchers believe their findings could partly explain the relationship between lifestyle effects and geographical differences in prostate cancer. The role of gut microbiota in men suffering from prostate cancer is currently not understood.

Study authors sequenced the gut microbiota of 181 men who were suspected to have prostate cancer and undergoing prostate cancer diagnostics. The samples were collected at the time of their prostate biopsies after MRI scans.

The study found that the gut microbiota of the 60% of men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer were significantly different to those who had benign biopsies.

“The men with cancer had increased levels of Prevotella 9, members of the family Erysipelotrichaceae, and Escherichia-Shigella, a pathogen that causes diarrhoea. They also had lower levels of Jonquetella, Moryella, Anaeroglobus, Corynebacterium and CAG-352 than men without,” the media release reads.

“There are significant variations in prostate cancer rates around the world, which could be due to genetic factors or differences in health care policies, but also variance in lifestyle and diet,” explains University of Turku Professor Peter Bostrom. “The difference in gut microbiota between men with and without prostate cancer could underpin some of these variations. More research is needed to look at the potential for using gut microbiota for both diagnostic and preventive strategies.”

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer globally. It is more frequent in Western countries and less common elsewhere. In the United States, it is expected over 268,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, while about 34,500 will die from the disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, one man in eight will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

Researchers also say “there is evidence that men who emigrate from low to high incidence areas have increased risk of prostate cancer in their lifetimes, and their offspring have the risk of the high incidence region.”

“This is a striking finding from a large well-conducted trial,” says Lars Dyrskjøt Andersen, professor of Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University and member of the EAU22 Scientific Congress Committee of Urology. “We should be careful with observed associations when it comes to complicated epidemiology, and no cause-and-affect measures can be determined based on this, but certainly the gut microbiota could be an important area to investigate further to enhance our understanding of prostate cancer risk.”

The study was presented at the European Association of Urology Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

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