Trichomonas vaginalis infection and prostate-specific antigen concentration: Insights into prostate involvement and prostate disease risk

Prostate. 2019 Oct;79(14):1622-1628. doi: 10.1002/pros.23886. Epub 2019 Aug 2.


Background: The protist Trichomonas vaginalis causes a common, sexually transmitted infection and has been proposed to contribute to the development of chronic prostate conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. However, few studies have investigated the extent to which it involves the prostate in the current antimicrobial era. We addressed this question by investigating the relation between T. vaginalis antibody serostatus and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentration, a marker of prostate infection, inflammation, and/or cell damage, in young, male, US military members.

Methods: We measured T. vaginalis serum IgG antibodies and serum total PSA concentration in a random sample of 732 young, male US active duty military members. Associations between T. vaginalis serostatus and PSA were investigated by linear regression.

Results: Of the 732 participants, 341 (46.6%) had a low T. vaginalis seropositive score and 198 (27.0%) had a high score, with the remainder seronegative. No significant differences were observed in the distribution of PSA by T. vaginalis serostatus. However, slightly greater, nonsignificant differences were observed when men with high T. vaginalis seropositive scores were compared with seronegative men, and when higher PSA concentrations were examined (≥0.70 ng/mL). Specifically, 42.5% of men with high seropositive scores had a PSA concentration greater than or equal to 0.70 ng/mL compared with 33.2% of seronegative men (adjusted P = .125).

Conclusions: Overall, our findings do not provide strong support for prostate involvement during T. vaginalis infection, although our suggestive positive findings for higher PSA concentrations do not rule out this possibility entirely. These suggestive findings may be relevant for prostate condition development because higher early- to mid-life PSA concentrations have been found to predict greater prostate cancer risk later in life.

Keywords: T. vaginalis; inflammation; prostate cancer etiology; sexually transmitted infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Diseases / parasitology*
  • Trichomonas Infections / complications*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / immunology*
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen