Despite accumulating evidence that inflammation may affect the development of prostate cancer, responsible causes of intraprostatic inflammation remain elusive. This review presents epidemiologic literature on infections, particularly sexually transmitted and other ascending urogenital infections, as possible causes of intraprostatic inflammation and/or prostate cancer. Study results are interpreted in light of the inflammatory and carcinogenic potential of each infectious agent, as well as the design, analysis, and historical and cultural context of each epidemiologic study. Such findings motivate additional investigation of traditionally explored organisms, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and more recently explored organisms, such as Propionibacterium acnes, with careful consideration of their biology and epidemiology, as well as the design and analysis of epidemiologic studies.
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