Recent epidemiologic, genetic, and molecular studies suggest infection and inflammation initiate certain cancers, including those of the prostate. The American Cancer Society, estimates that approximately 20% of all worldwide cancers are caused by infection. Mycoplasma, a genus of bacteria that lack a cell wall, are among the few prokaryotes that can grow in close relationship with mammalian cells, often without any apparent pathology, for extended periods of time. In this study, the capacity of Mycoplasma genitalium, a prevalent sexually transmitted infection, and Mycoplasma hyorhinis, a mycoplasma found at unusually high frequency among patients with AIDS, to induce a malignant phenotype in benign human prostate cells (BPH-1) was evaluated using a series of in vitro and in vivo assays. After 19 weeks of culture, infected BPH-1 cells achieved anchorage-independent growth and increased migration and invasion. Malignant transformation of infected BPH-1 cells was confirmed by the formation of xenograft tumors in athymic mice. Associated with these changes was an increase in karyotypic entropy, evident by the accumulation of chromosomal aberrations and polysomy. This is the first report describing the capacity of M. genitalium or M. hyorhinis infection to lead to the malignant transformation of benign human epithelial cells and may serve as a model to further study the relationship between prostatitis and prostatic carcinogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)