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Inflamed Prostates Linked to Lower Cancer Risk

Update Date: Dec 09, 2013 02:08 PM EST

Previous studies reveal inflammation promotes cancer development by aiding tumor growth and spread. However, new research reveals that this immune response can also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.

Researchers found that men who have increased inflammation in their prostate have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Doctors looked at signs of inflammation in prostate tissue samples from 6,200 men who were between the ages of 50 and 75. All men were determined cancer-free after undergoing initial biopsies.

The men then underwent two more biopsies two years and four years later. The findings revealed the prostate cancer was detected in 14 percent of participants two years after the initial biopsy.  Researchers found that men who showed signs of acute inflammation or chronic inflammation during the first biopsy were 25 percent pr 35 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, only acute inflammation in the original biopsy was linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer in the third biopsy.

"Because we have shown that inflammation has a predictive value, it should be routinely evaluated in prostate biopsies," Dr. Daniel Moreira, a urologist at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, New York, said in a news release.

"Also, this research shows that patients showing inflammation at an initial biopsy may be evaluated by their physician differently from with patients without inflammation at an initial biopsy given their risk of subsequent cancer detection is lower," Moreira added.

Researchers believe the link between lower prostate cancer risk and heightened inflammation can be explained by the concept of immunosurveillance, or when the immune system produces inflammation because it recognizes cancerous cells as threatening, foreign agents and destroys them before they can become an established tumor.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer.

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