Tue | Jun 6, 2023

Prostate cancer linked to bacteria

Published:Saturday | April 1, 2023 | 12:23 AM


Prostate cancer is very common in Jamaica. It was recently discovered that aggressive prostate cancer is linked to bacteria. The bacteria might cause the cancer. It may be a helpful marker of the presence of cancer or it may indicate a poor immune response from the bacteria which may allow the cancer to spread.

The cardinal marker of prostate cancer is the PSA test. However, in six out of 10 men, with an elevated PSA, the cancer is non-aggressive and can be monitored and left alone. The other four men will go on to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer which can kill them.

The problem has always been to identify these four men. Usually, this is done by biopsy of the prostate. It would seem that culture of the urine and identification of the bacteria will point out, and may provide, a more accurate way of predicting cancers that will spread.

The two bacteria identified are:

- Porphyromonas bobii

- Varibaculum prostate cancerukia

Their response to antibiotics was not stated.

We already have the case of H pylori, which will trigger stomach cancers and is easily cured with a course of antibiotics. Perhaps, in the future, the cure for prostate cancer may be a course of antibiotics. The role that bacteria play in causing other cancers has to be explored.

It should be our commitment to make cancer a historical disease.

With the discovery linking aggressive prostate cancer with bacteria, we have taken another step on that path.