Prostatic metaplasia of the vagina in transmasculine individuals

World J Urol. 2022 Mar;40(3):849-855. doi: 10.1007/s00345-021-03907-y. Epub 2022 Jan 16.


Purpose: To determine the prevalence of prostatic metaplasia in an expanded cohort of transmasculine individuals undergoing gender-affirming resection of vaginal tissue.

Methods: Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Clinical records were reviewed for all transmasculine individuals undergoing vaginal tissue resection at our institution between January 2018 and July 2021. Corresponding pathology specimens were examined grossly and microscopically, including immunohistochemical stains for NKX3.1, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and androgen receptor (AR). Vaginal specimens from three patients without androgen supplementation were used as controls.

Results: Twenty-one patients met inclusion criteria. The median age at surgery was 26.4 years (range 20.6-34.5 years). All patients had been assigned female gender at birth and lacked endocrine or genetic abnormalities. All were on testosterone therapy; median duration of therapy at surgery was 4.4 years (range 1.4-12.1 years). In the transmasculine group, no gross lesions were identified. Microscopically, all specimens demonstrated patchy intraepithelial glandular proliferation along the basement membrane and/or nodular proliferation of prostate-type tissue within the subepithelial stroma. On immunohistochemical staining, performed for a subset of cases, the glandular proliferation was positive for NKX3.1 (16/16 cases; 100%), PSA (12/14 cases; 85.7%), and AR (8/8 cases; 100%). Controls showed no evidence of prostatic metaplasia.

Conclusion: One hundred percent of vaginal specimens obtained from transmasculine individuals on testosterone therapy (21/21 cases) demonstrated prostatic metaplasia. Further investigation is warranted to characterize the natural history and clinical significance of these changes. Patients seeking hormone therapy and/or gender-affirming surgery should be counseled on the findings and their yet-undetermined significance.

Keywords: Androgens; Metaplasia; Pathology; Transgender persons.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androgens / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Metaplasia / chemically induced
  • Metaplasia / drug therapy
  • Prostate*
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Vagina
  • Young Adult


  • Androgens