HHV8 infection NOT associated with risk for prostate cancer

Over the years there have been many suggestions that prostate cancer may be “caused” by one or more viral or bacterial infections. Since it is extraordinarily difficult to “prove” that this is not the case (i.e., by “proving a negative”), we cannot (yet) say that such hypotheses are necessarily wrong. However, various studies have continued to show a lack of any clear association between any specific type of prior infection and risk for prostate cancer.

In a prospective, follow-up study associated with the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, Sutcliffe et al. now report that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that risk for prostate cancer was associated with a prior infection with human herpesvirus type 8 (HHV-8). Those who are interested in this topic can read the study abstract for themselves.

It should be noted that the lack of an association between infection with a specific micro-organism and a subsequent diagnosis of prostate cancer does not rule out the possibility that certain types of inflammatory effect within the prostate (which might occur as a consequence of prostatic infection by any micro-organism or as a consequence to other non-infectious events) could indeed increase risk for subsequent diagnosis of prostate cancer … and there are some data that support this idea — but not enough data to prove it.

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