Background: The etiology of prostate cancer (PCa) is poorly understood. Sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are among factors under scrutiny, with controversial findings to date.
Methods: We examined the association between the number and gender of sexual partners, STIs and PCa risk in the context of PROtEuS, a population-based case-control study set amongst the mainly French-speaking population in Montreal, Canada. The study included 1590 histologically-confirmed PCa cases diagnosed in a Montreal French hospital between 2005 and 2009, and 1618 population controls ascertained from the French electoral list, Montreal residents, frequency-matched to cases by age. In-person interviews elicited information on sociodemographic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between sexually related factors and PCa risk, adjusting for age, ancestry, family history of PCa, and PCa screening history.
Results: Subjects with more than 20 sexual partners in their lifetime had a decreased risk of PCa (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.61-1.00) as did subjects who specifically had more than 20 female sexual partners (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56-0.94). By contrast, having had several male sexual partners appeared to confer some excess in risk of PCa. No association emerged for history of STIs and PCa but STIs prevalence was low.
Conclusion: Our findings are in support of a role for the number of sexual partners in PCa development. The gender of sexual partners should be taken into account in future studies investigating this association.
Keywords: Prostate cancer; Sexual activity; Sexual orientation; Sexual partners; Sexually transmitted infections.
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