Gut bacteria and infection link to Prostate cancer

Gut bacteria and infection link to Prostate cancer
Gut bacteria and pathogens from past infections may well play a big part in prostate cancer according to a number of different research groups, studying the highly inflammatory nature of the disease. 
 
1. The evidence for a gut bacteria link to prostate cancer is mounting
 
Prostate cancer is often described as 'highly inflammatory prostate cancer', and the stimulus for the acute and chronic inflammation is increasingly thought to be infection. Chronic inflammation has long been known to play a role in prostate cancer (1) and questions were asked as long ago as 2005(2) as to whether it could be the result an infectious disease. 

One source of infection may come from the pathogens and microbes in the gut, especially bacteria and yeasts; certainly this is suggested by research from the TH Chan Public School of Health, Boston. 

So what does the microbiome of a man with prostate cancer look like, and how does it differ from that of a healthy male?

The TH Chan researchers(5) conducted a pilot study involving 20 men who had either benign prostatic conditions or early stage confined prostate cancer. Stool samples showed a higher relative abundance of Bacteriodes massiliensis in the prostate cancer cases compared to controls, whereas there was a higher level of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Eubacterium rectalie in the controls.

Not surprisingly, the different bacteria had different gene sequences and produced different biological compounds including proteins, enzymes and messenger RNA which played a major role in the biochemistry of the two groups of men. A much larger follow up study is now being undertaken.

Back in 2014, another team of researchers hypothesised that, because diet is known to have a significant effect on prostate cancer (polyphenol-rich foods are linked to a significantly reduced risk), the gut microbiome of prostate cancer patients was likely to be significantly different to that of healthy males(4). But is it cause or effect?

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2. Past infection may well be linked to prostate cancer
 
So that is one major line of thought - infection from the gut. But there is another. That the prostate itself is infected due to previous infections.
 
In 2013, researchers(3) showed that in mice inflammation and prostate cancer could occur after infection with Helicobacter hepaticus. Worse, infected mice could give the problem to uninfected mice! However, this could be prevented if the recipient mice had a strong and healthy gut microbiome. But is it cause or effect? 
 
We also recently covered research that men with prostate cancer in Europe have 2.29 higher levels of HPV infection than the norm. 
 
A comprehensive review (6) of infection as a cause of the acute inflammatory process identified a build up of prostatic corpora amylacae, tiny filaments that build up in the adult male prostate. Calcified stones called prostatic calculi can evolve from them. A number of proteins are associated with these, one of which is lactoferrin, and these proteins are part of an immune response to a past infection.
 
However, the infection may still be present. Indeed, several studies have taken place where scientists have cultured the pathogens E. coli and Pseudomonas from these calculi. Staphylococcus is another pathogen identified, this time by Electonmicroscopy and 'footprints' left in the calculi. Indeed, it is very likely that no single agent causes the infection(6).
 
People who wish to avoid prostate cancer may do well to consider that both their gut and their prostate may carry infection. They should also look into pathogen-killing herbs such as artemisinin and berberine; and yeast killers such as oregano oil and caprylic acid. Pau d'arco has anti-yeast and anti-viral benefits.
 
3. Gut bacteria also make prostate Immunotherapy drugs work better
 
Clearly bacteria play an important negative role in prostate cancer but, it seems, they may actually help prostate cancer drugs.
 
Researchers at the Knight Cancer Research Center in OHSU, Oregon have been looking at the use of Pembrolizumab, an Immunotherapy drug in cases of advanced prostate cancer. So far, the drug seems to work, but the numbers disappoint. In line with studies on other cancers, the researchers at OHSU have been given $1 million to prove that patients NEED a good microbiome to make the Immunotherapy drugs work better in prostate cancer. 
 
 
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Refs
1. Nelson WG, De Marzo AM, Isaacs WB (2003) Prostate cancer. N Engl J Med 349: 366-381.10.1056/NEJMra021562 PubMed: 12878745  [PubMed
2. Correa P (2005) Commentary: Is prostate cancer an infectious disease? Int J Epidemiol 34: 197-198 PubMed: 15649962  [PubMed

3. Theofilos Poutahidis, Kelsey Cappelle et al  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753256/#B7

5. Golombos DM, Ayangbesan A et al, TH Chan; Urology September 2017; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28888753

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219279/

 

 

 

 

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