Sexually transmitted infections and prostate cancer among men in the U.S. military

Leslie K. Dennis, Julie A. Coughlin, Brittany C. McKinnon, Timothy S. Wells, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Eva Hamsikova, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of self-reported sexually transmitted infections (STI) suggesting an association with prostate cancer may reflect underreporting of such infections among nondiseased subjects. To reduce such bias, we studied archived sera in a cohort of U.S. military personnel known to have high rates of both STIs and prostate cancer. Using a nested case-control design, serum samples from 534 men who served on active duty between September 1, 1993 and September 1, 2003 were examined. Controls were individually matched to cases based on date of serum collection, date of birth, branch of service, military rank, marital status, and race. Each of the 267 case-control pairs had two serum samples: a recent serum sample, taken ∼1 year before the case's prostate cancer diagnosis, and an earlier serum sample, taken ∼8 years before diagnosis. Each serum specimen was studied for antibodies against human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), and Chlamydia trachomatis. Logistic regression accounted for matching and potential confounding factors. Study data indicated no association between prostate cancer and serologic evidence of infections just before the reference date. However, a statistically significant association between prostate cancer and serologic evidence of HSV-2 infection was detected in the earlier sample (odds ratio, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-2.44). The strength of this association increased when analyses were restricted to sera collected at least 60 months before diagnosis (odds ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.26-3.29; 204 pairs). If this association is causal, then our findings would suggest a long latency period for prostate cancer development after HSV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2665-2671
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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