LOUIS—The protist Trichomonas vaginalis causes a common, sexually transmitted infection, some research has raised the possibility that it might contribute to the development of chronic prostate conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

A study in the journal Prostate pointed out, however, that few studies have investigated the extent to which it involves the prostate in the current antimicrobial era.1

Washington University researchers sought to answer the question by investigating the relation between T. vaginalis antibody serostatus and serum prostate-specific antigen concentration, a marker of prostate infection, inflammation and/or cell damage, in young, male, U.S. military servicemembers.

T. vaginalis serum IgG antibodies and serum total PSA concentration were measured in a random sample of 732 military personnel, with researchers looking at associations between the two.

Results indicated that, of the 732 participants, 341 (46.6%) had a low T. vaginalis seropositive score and 198 (27.0%) had a high score, with the remainder seronegative. The authors observed no significant differences in the distribution of PSA by T. vaginalis serostatus, although slightly greater, nonsignificant differences were observed when men with high T. vaginalis seropositive scores were compared with seronegative men, and when higher PSA concentrations—those 0.70 ng/mL or greater—were examined.

“Specifically, 42.5% of men with high seropositive scores had a PSA concentration greater than or equal to 0.70 ng/mL compared with 33.2% of seronegative men (adjusted P = 0.125),” the researchers explained.

The authors said the results were somewhat inconclusive, noting, “Overall, our findings do not provide strong support for prostate involvement during T. vaginalis infection, although our suggestive positive findings for higher PSA concentrations do not rule out this possibility entirely. These suggestive findings may be relevant for prostate condition development because higher early to midlife PSA concentrations have been found to predict greater prostate cancer risk later in life.”

  1. Langston ME, Bhalla A, Alderete JF, Nevin RL, et. Al. Trichomonas vaginalis infection and prostate-specific antigen concentration: Insights into prostate involvement and prostate disease risk. Prostate. 2019 Oct;79(14):1622-1628. doi: 10.1002/pros.23886. Epub 2019 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: 31376187; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6715535.