Leukocytes and bacteria in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome compared to asymptomatic controls

J Urol. 2003 Sep;170(3):818-22. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000082252.49374.e9.


Purpose: Chronic prostatitis has been traditionally characterized by inflammation and/or infection of the prostate gland, objectively categorized by white blood cells and cultured bacteria in prostate specific specimens. We compared leukocyte counts and localization rates for bacterial cultures of segmented urine samples (VB1, VB2, VB3), expressed prostatic secretion (EPS) and semen in men diagnosed with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) to men without pelvic pain (controls).

Materials and methods: A total of 463 men enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Cohort study and 121 age matched men without urinary symptoms had leukocyte counts performed and 5-day bacterial cultures on specimens obtained from a standard 4-glass test (VB1, VB2, EPS, VB3) and semen. All risk factor comparisons between case and control analyses were tested using generalized Mantel-Haenszel methods, and multivariable models were developed using logistic regression methods, adjusting for clustering by clinical center within both methods.

Results: Men with CP/CPPS had statistically higher leukocyte counts in all segmented urine samples and EPS, but not in semen compared to asymptomatic control men. However, the control population also had a high prevalence of leukocytes. Of the men with CP/CPPS 50% and 32% had 5 or more, or 10 or more white blood cells (WBCs) per high power field, respectively, in EPS compared to 40% and 20% of the control population. Similarly, 32% and 14% of the patients with CP/CPPS had 5 or more, or 10 or more WBCs per high power field in VB3 compared to 19% and 11% in the control population. Localization of uropathogenic bacteria in EPS, VB3 and/or semen was similar in men with CP/CPPS (8.0%) and asymptomatic men (8.3%).

Conclusions: Men with CP/CPPS have significantly higher leukocyte counts in all segmented urine samples and EPS but not in semen as compared to controls. There is no difference in rates of localization of bacterial cultures for men with CP/CPPS compared to control men. The high prevalence of WBCs and positive bacterial cultures in the asymptomatic control population raises questions about the clinical usefulness of the standard 4-glass test as a diagnostic tool in men with CP/CPPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatitis / urine*
  • Risk Factors
  • Semen / cytology
  • Semen / microbiology
  • Syndrome
  • Urine / cytology
  • Urine / microbiology