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bacterial infection

The cancer microbe

Prostate cancer, the type of cancer most prevalent among men, may be caused by a common sexually transmitted infection (PNAS, May 19, 2014). Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have detected trichomoniasis, a bacterial infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, in human prostate cells. The team led by Patricia Johnson then identified a protein of T. vaginalis that promotes the formation of tumor cells. An estimated 275 million people have trichomoniasis. The infection causes painful urination in men and vaginal discharge in women, although half of all cases are asymptomatic. In 2009, a study by Harvard University found that 25% of all men with prostate cancer showed signs of trichomoniasis and that this group tended to have aggressive forms of the disease.