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1.  Prospective Study of Trichomonas vaginalis Infection and Prostate Cancer Incidence and Mortality: Physicians' Health Study 
A recent nested case–control study found that the presence of antibodies against Trichomonas vaginalis, a common nonviral sexually transmitted infection, was positively associated with subsequent incidence of prostate cancer. We confirmed these findings in an independent population and related serostatus for antibodies against T vaginalis to prostate cancer incidence and mortality.
We conducted a case–control study nested within the Physicians’ Health Study that included 673 case subjects with prostate cancer and 673 individually matched control subjects who had available plasma samples. Plasma from blood samples collected at baseline was assayed for antibodies against T vaginalis with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) of incident prostate cancer, extraprostatic prostate cancer, and cancer that would ultimately progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death.
Although not statistically significant, the magnitude of the association between T vaginalis–seropositive status and overall prostate cancer risk (OR = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.94 to 1.61) was similar to that reported previously. Furthermore, a seropositive status was associated with statistically significantly increased risks of extraprostatic prostate cancer (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.08 to 4.37) and of cancer that would ultimately progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death (OR = 2.69, 95% CI = 1.37 to 5.28).
This large prospective case–control study obtained further support for an association between a seropositive status for antibodies against T vaginalis and the risk of prostate cancer, with statistically significant associations identified for the risk of extraprostatic prostate cancer and for clinically relevant, potentially lethal prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2765259  PMID: 19741211
2.  Gleason Score and Lethal Prostate Cancer: Does 3 + 4 = 4 + 3? 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(21):3459-3464.
Gleason grading is an important predictor of prostate cancer (PCa) outcomes. Studies using surrogate PCa end points suggest outcomes for Gleason score (GS) 7 cancers vary according to the predominance of pattern 4. These studies have influenced clinical practice, but it is unclear if rates of PCa mortality differ for 3 + 4 and 4 + 3 tumors. Using PCa mortality as the primary end point, we compared outcomes in Gleason 3 + 4 and 4 + 3 cancers, and the predictive ability of GS from a standardized review versus original scoring.
Patients and Methods
Three study pathologists conducted a blinded standardized review of 693 prostatectomy and 119 biopsy specimens to assign primary and secondary Gleason patterns. Tumor specimens were from PCa patients diagnosed between 1984 and 2004 from the Physicians' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Lethal PCa (n = 53) was defined as development of bony metastases or PCa death. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated according to original GS and standardized GS. We compared the discrimination of standardized and original grading with C-statistics from models of 10-year survival.
For prostatectomy specimens, 4 + 3 cancers were associated with a three-fold increase in lethal PCa compared with 3 + 4 cancers (95% CI, 1.1 to 8.6). The discrimination of models of standardized scores from prostatectomy (C-statistic, 0.86) and biopsy (C-statistic, 0.85) were improved compared to models of original scores (prostatectomy C-statistic, 0.82; biopsy C-statistic, 0.72).
Ignoring the predominance of Gleason pattern 4 in GS 7 cancers may conceal important prognostic information. A standardized review of GS can improve prediction of PCa survival.
PMCID: PMC2717753  PMID: 19433685
3.  Genetic variation in the Toll-Like Receptor 4 and prostate cancer incidence and mortality 
The Prostate  2011;72(2):209-216.
Common genetic variants in the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), which is involved in inflammation and immune response pathways, may be important for prostate cancer.
In a large nested case-control study of prostate cancer in the Physicians’ Health Study (1982–2004), 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected and genotyped to capture common variation within the TLR4 gene as well as 5 kilobases up and downstream. Unconditional logistic regression was used to assess associations of these SNPs with total prostate cancer incidence, and with prostate cancers defined as advanced stage/lethal (T3/T4, M1/N1(T1-T4), lethal) or high Gleason grade (7 (4+3) or greater). Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to assess progression to metastases and death among prostate cancer cases.
The study included 1267 controls and 1286 incident prostate cancer cases, including 248 advanced stage/lethal and 306 high grade cases. During a median follow-up of 10.6 years, 183 men died of prostate cancer or developed distant metastases. No statistically significant associations between the TLR4 SNPs were found for total prostate cancer incidence, including SNPs for which an association was reported in other published studies. Additionally, there were no significant associations with TLR4 SNPS and the incidence of advanced stage/lethal, or high grade cancers; nor was there evidence among prostate cancer cases for associations of TLR4 SNPs with progression to prostate cancer specific mortality or bony metastases.
Results from this prospective nested case-control study suggest that genetic variation across TLR4 alone is not strongly associated with prostate cancer risk or mortality.
PMCID: PMC3175021  PMID: 21563195
TLR4; prostate cancer; inflammation; molecular epidemiology
4.  mRNA Expression Signature of Gleason Grade Predicts Lethal Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(17):2391-2396.
Prostate-specific antigen screening has led to enormous overtreatment of prostate cancer because of the inability to distinguish potentially lethal disease at diagnosis. We reasoned that by identifying an mRNA signature of Gleason grade, the best predictor of prognosis, we could improve prediction of lethal disease among men with moderate Gleason 7 tumors, the most common grade, and the most indeterminate in terms of prognosis.
Patients and Methods
Using the complementary DNA–mediated annealing, selection, extension, and ligation assay, we measured the mRNA expression of 6,100 genes in prostate tumor tissue in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort (n = 358) and Physicians' Health Study (PHS; n = 109). We developed an mRNA signature of Gleason grade comparing individuals with Gleason ≤ 6 to those with Gleason ≥ 8 tumors and applied the model among patients with Gleason 7 to discriminate lethal cases.
We built a 157-gene signature using the Swedish data that predicted Gleason with low misclassification (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.91); when this signature was tested in the PHS, the discriminatory ability remained high (AUC = 0.94). In men with Gleason 7 tumors, who were excluded from the model building, the signature significantly improved the prediction of lethal disease beyond knowing whether the Gleason score was 4 + 3 or 3 + 4 (P = .006).
Our expression signature and the genes identified may improve our understanding of the de-differentiation process of prostate tumors. Additionally, the signature may have clinical applications among men with Gleason 7, by further estimating their risk of lethal prostate cancer and thereby guiding therapy decisions to improve outcomes and reduce overtreatment.
PMCID: PMC3107753  PMID: 21537050
5.  Genetic variation in RNASEL associated with prostate cancer risk and progression 
Carcinogenesis  2010;31(9):1597-1603.
Variation in genes contributing to the host immune response may mediate the relationship between inflammation and prostate carcinogenesis. RNASEL at chromosome 1q25 encodes ribonuclease L, part of the interferon-mediated immune response to viral infection. We therefore investigated the association between variation in RNASEL and prostate cancer risk and progression in a study of 1286 cases and 1264 controls nested within the prospective Physicians’ Health Study. Eleven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected using the web-based ‘Tagger’ in the HapMap CEPH panel (Utah residents of Northern and Western European Ancestry). Unconditional logistic regression models assessed the relationship between each SNP and incident advanced stage (T3/T4, T0-T4/M1 and lethal disease) and high Gleason grade (≥7) prostate cancer. Further analyses were stratified by calendar year of diagnosis. Cox proportional hazards models examined the relationship between genotype and prostate cancer-specific survival. We also explored associations between genotype and serum inflammatory biomarkers interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 2 using linear regression. Individuals homozygous for the variant allele of rs12757998 had an increased risk of prostate cancer [AA versus GG; odds ratio (OR): 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18–2.25), and more specifically, high-grade tumors (OR: 1.90, 95% CI: 1.25–2.89). The same genotype was associated with increased CRP (P = 0.02) and IL-6 (P = 0.05) levels. Missense mutations R462Q and D541E were associated with an increased risk of advanced stage disease only in the pre-prostate-specific antigen era. There were no significant associations with survival. The results of this study support a link between RNASEL and prostate cancer and suggest that the association may be mediated through inflammation. These novel findings warrant replication in future studies.
PMCID: PMC2930803  PMID: 20576793
6.  Plasma levels of acid-labile subunit, free insulin-like growth factor-1, and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study 
The acid-labile subunit (ALS) acts in the insulin-like growth (IGF) system by binding circulating IGF1 in a ternary complex with binding protein (IGFBP)-3 to prevent IGF1 from crossing the endothelial barrier. Given the role of the IGF system in prostate cancer, ALS may influence carcinogenesis by modulating IGF1 levels or bioavailability.
Materials and Methods
We undertook a prospective study nested in the Physicians’ Health Study to examine ALS, free IGF1 and prostate cancer. We assayed circulating levels of ALS and IGF components among 545 incident cases and 545 matched controls. We calculated relative risks and 95% confidence intervals (RR, 95% CI) adjusted for lifestyle factors, total IGF1 and IGFBP3.
ALS was positively correlated with total IGF1 (r=0.58), IGFBP3 (r=0.68), and free IGF1 (r=0.36). Comparing highest versus lowest quartiles, we found no association between free IGF1 and prostate cancer risk (0.9, 0.6–1.3). In contrast, ALS was positively associated with risk among men in the 2nd (1.5, 1.0–2.3), 3rd (1.6, 1.1–2.5) and 4th quartiles (1.4, 0.9–2.1) compared to lowest quartile. The association was stronger for advanced stage tumors (2.0, 0.8–4.6). Among men with low ALS, high total IGF1 was associated with a substantial increase in advanced prostate cancer (9.3, 1.7–51.3), while high IGF1 did not confer risk for those with higher ALS levels.
Plasma ALS is positively associated with prostate cancer risk, and may interact biologically with IGF1 to affect carcinogenesis. These data provide further support for the role of the IGF axis in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2820127  PMID: 20142246
IGF system; acid labile subunit; prostate cancer; epidemiology
7.  Polymorphism in endostatin, an angiogenesis inhibitor, and prostate cancer risk and survival: a prospective study 
Endostatin inhibits endothelial cell proliferation and migration, prerequisites of angiogenesis. A functional missense mutation (D104N) in endostatin was associated with an increased prostate cancer risk in a small study. We undertook a larger, prospective study within the Physicians’ Health Study to examine D104N and prostate cancer risk and progression among 544 incident prostate cancer cases (1982-1995) and 678 matched controls. The association between endostatin genotype and cancer risk was estimated using logistic regression models. Among cases, Cox models were used to assess D104N and lethal prostate cancer. Given the role of endostatin in neovascularization of adipose tissue, we cross-classified individuals on D104N genotype and body mass index (BMI). The genotype frequency was 1.3% homozygous (NN), 14.5% heterozygous (DN), and 84.2% wildtype homozygous (DD). There was no overall association between carriage of the N allele and prostate cancer risk (RR=1.2, 95% CI: 0.9-1.6) or cancer-specific mortality (HR=1.2, 0.7-1.8). Cases with the polymorphic allele were less likely to be overweight (BMI 25 kg/m2 or greater, 26%) compared to men wildtype homozygous (48%), p<0.0001. Being overweight was associated with a 60% greater prostate cancer risk among those who were wildtype homozygous. In contrast, being overweight was associated a 50% lower risk of cancer among those with the N allele. We did not confirm earlier observation between the D104N polymorphism and prostate cancer. However, our data indicate that prostate cancer cases who carry the variant N allele are more likely to be overweight, and may be more susceptible to the angiogenic influences of obesity in prostate cancer pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2838373  PMID: 19431146
Endostatin; angiogenesis; obesity; prostate cancer
8.  Toll-like Receptor Signaling Pathway Variants and Prostate Cancer Mortality 
An understanding of factors associated with prostate cancer (PCa) mortality is increasingly important given the biological heterogeneity of disease. Previous studies have shown that genetic variation in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway is associated with PCa incidence, but any role in progression and mortality is unclear. Among 1,252 PCa cases from the Cancer Prostate in Sweden study, we conducted time-to-event analyses of PCa mortality for 99 individual tagging SNPs and haploytpes from 20 genes in the TLR pathway. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 99% confidence intervals (99% CI). Global P values were estimated from a likelihood ratio test. During a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 191 PCa deaths occurred. Controlling for age and geographic location, two polymorphisms were statistically significantly associated with PCa mortality (P < 0.01). Compared with homozygous wild-type carriers of the TLR-9 polymorphism (rs187084), the HR (99% CI) was 1.57 (1.02, 2.41) for heterozygotes and 1.02 (0.57, 1.84) for rare homozygotes (P = 0.009). For a MIC-1 SNP (rs1227732), the HR comparing carriers of at least one copy of the minor allele to wild-type homozygotes was 0.54 (99% CI: 0.34, 0.87). Only the MIC-1 SNP remained significant after additional adjustment for treatment. No significant associations were observed for common haplotypes and PCa mortality. This study highlights the importance of studies of PCa mortality because risk factors for incidence and mortality may differ.
PMCID: PMC2833418  PMID: 19505919
9.  Testing a Multigene Signature of Prostate Cancer Death in the Swedish Watchful Waiting Cohort 
While prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, most men die with and not from their disease, underscoring the urgency to distinguish potentially lethal from indolent prostate cancer. We tested the prognostic value of a previously identified multigene signature of prostate cancer progression to predict cancer-specific death. The Örebro Watchful Waiting Cohort included 172 men with localized prostate cancer of whom 40 died of prostate cancer. We quantified protein expression of the markers in tumor tissue by immunohistochemistry, and stratified the cohort by quintiles according to risk classification. We accounted for clinical parameters (age, Gleason, nuclear grade, tumor volume) using Cox regression, and calculated Receiver Operator Curves to compare discriminatory ability. The hazard ratio of prostate cancer death increased with increasing risk classification by the multigene model, with a 16-fold greater risk comparing highest versus lowest risk strata, and predicted outcome independent of clinical factors (p=0.002). The best discrimination came from combining information from the multigene markers and clinical data, which perfectly classified the lowest risk stratum where no one developed lethal disease; using the two lowest risk groups as referent, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) was 11.3 (4.0–32.8) for the highest risk group and difference in mortality at 15 years was 60% (50–70%). The combined model provided greater discriminatory ability (AUC 0.78) than the clinical model alone (AUC 0.71), p=0.04. Molecular tumor markers can add to clinical parameters to help distinguish lethal and indolent prostate cancer, and hold promise to guide treatment decisions.
PMCID: PMC2536630  PMID: 18583469

Results 1-9 (9)