what are the risk factors?

If family history is the best established risk factor for prostate cancer, other elements come into play: age (about 70 years old at the time of diagnosis) and African or West Indian origin. In the latter case, prostate cancer may have been promoted by exposure to chlordecone, the pesticide long used in banana cultivation. Since last December, prostate cancer has also been recognized as an occupational disease for exposed agricultural workers.

Several research teams have also looked at other possible risk factors, relating for example to diet (the role of dairy products is regularly questioned in the onset of prostate cancer), or waist circumference ( abdominal obesity is associated with increased risk). In the United Kingdom, researchers at the University of East Anglia sought to determine whether certain bacteria could play a role in the development of prostate cancer.

Bacteria, cause or consequence?

So they studied urine and tissue samples from more than 600 men with and without prostate cancer, and then developed methods to determine whether certain bacteria were associated with aggressive prostate cancer. The authors of the study, published in the journal European Urology Oncology, found that indeed five specific types of bacteria were linked to the presence of higher grades of prostate cancer and faster progression to disease. agressive.

But before formally establishing a causal link between the presence of these bacteria and aggressive prostate cancer, several questions remain unanswered: “We do not yet know how people catch these bacteria, if they are the source of cancer or if a poor immune response allows their growth”, confirms Dr Rachel Hurst, first author of this work and associate researcher from the Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia, in a press release.

Further research is therefore needed to establish whether these bacteria are the cause or a consequence of these cancers. “But we hope that our findings and future work could lead to new therapeutic options, which could slow or prevent the development of aggressive prostate cancer,” adds the researcher. “Our work could also lay the groundwork for new tests that use the bacteria to predict the most effective treatment for each man’s cancer. »

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