Objectives. To quantify the relationship between prostatitis and prostate cancer by pooling previous epidemiologic studies of this association. Methods. A comprehensive search for articles published through 2000 was performed, blinded reviews of each study were conducted, data were abstracted, and all such studies were pooled. Results. In this meta-analysis, an increased risk was seen among men with a history of prostatitis (odds ratio = 1.6), particularly with population-based case-control studies (odds ratio = 1.8). Increased relative risk estimates were also seen among men with a history of syphilis and a history of gonorrhea. Conclusions. These associations with prostate cancer suggest that infections may represent one mechanism through which prostate cancer develops. However, causality is unclear, because recall bias and detection bias cannot be ruled out. Future cohort studies of prostate cancer should examine sexually transmitted infections, as well as other infections, as potential risk factors.
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