Inflammatory atrophy of the prostate. Prevalence and significance

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003 Jul;127(7):840-4. doi: 10.1043/1543-2165(2003)127<840:IAOTP>2.0.CO;2.


Context: Recently, prostatic atrophy associated with chronic inflammation has been linked to carcinoma either directly or indirectly by first developing into high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.

Objective: The purpose of our study was to test this hypothesis in autopsies.

Design: A step section method was used to cut the posterior lobe in coronal planes at intervals of 0.3 to 0.5 cm in 100 consecutive autopsies of men older than 40 years. Prostatic atrophy was classified as simple, hyperplastic (or postatrophic hyperplasia), and sclerotic and was analyzed for the presence of chronic inflammation. Prostatic atrophy without (group A) and with inflammation (group B) was correlated with the following variables: age, race, histologic (incidental) carcinoma, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and extent of both these lesions.

Results: Of the 100 prostates examined, 12%, 22% and 66%, respectively, had no atrophy, atrophy without inflammation (group A), and atrophy with inflammation (group B). There was no statistically significant difference between groups A and B for age (P =.55), race (P =.89), presence of histologic (incidental) carcinoma (P =.89), extensive carcinoma (P =.43), presence of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (P =.65), extensive high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (P =.30), or subtypes of prostatic atrophy. Neither a topographical relation nor a morphologic transition was seen between prostatic atrophy and histologic carcinoma or high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia. Sclerotic atrophy either alone or combined with other subtypes was more frequent in the group with inflammation. A striking morphologic finding was a topographical relation of focal inflammation with sclerotic atrophy in areas with erosion of the epithelium.

Conclusions: Inflammatory prostatic atrophy does not appear to be associated with histologic (incidental) carcinoma or high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia. One possible cause of inflammatory infiltrate associated with prostatic atrophy may be the extravasated prostatic secretions, which were noted in areas of eroded epithelium, a common finding in the sclerotic type of prostatic atrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatitis / epidemiology*
  • Prostatitis / pathology*