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Medical News

STD Surprisingly Tied to Low Prostate Cancer Risk

October 4, 2002

In an unexpected outcome, Finnish researchers found that men who have been infected with chlamydia appear to have a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

An earlier study by Dr. Tarja Anttila, an epidemiologist at the National Public Health Institute in Oulu, Finland, and colleagues found that chlamydia increased a woman's risk of cervical cancer, possibly by damaging DNA in cervical cells. The team suspected the same might be true for prostate cancer in men. "I'd think infection would increase the risk of prostate cancer," said Anttila.

Using blood banks in Finland, Norway and Sweden, the researchers identified men whose blood samples taken at some point over a 30-year period contained chlamydia antibodies. Then the researchers searched a national cancer registry to see if any of the 738 men with chlamydia antibodies had been diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life. These men were compared with a group of 2,271 men whose blood sample did not contain chlamydia antibodies.

Overall, chlamydia infection was associated with a 31 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, Anttila reported at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego. And the higher the antibody levels, the lower the cancer risk. Lower antibody levels are generally present when the infection has been treated, she noted.

The findings are not an endorsement for avoiding chlamydia treatment in an effort to ward off cancer. Anttila said more studies are needed to determine if there truly is a relationship between chlamydia infection and prostate cancer, and if so, why.

Back to other CDC news for October 4, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Reuters Health
09.30.02; Jacqueline Stenson

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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