A case-cohort study of human herpesvirus 8 seropositivity and incident prostate cancer in Tobago

Alicia C. McDonald, Frank J. Jenkins, Clareann H. Bunker, John W. Wilson, Alan L. Patrick, Joel L. Weissfeld

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10 Scopus citations


Background: We previously reported a cross-sectional association between the presence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) serum antibodies and screen-detected prostate cancer in men living in Tobago. In the same study population, we examined the association between HHV-8 seropositivity and incident prostate cancer discovered at later screenings. Methods. In 40-81 year-old men without prostate cancer discovered at initial digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, a case-cohort design measured the association between baseline HHV-8 seropositivity (modified immunofluorescence assay for antibodies against HHV-8 lytic antigens) and incident prostate cancer detected at DRE and PSA screenings three or five years later. Results: Analyses included 486 unique individuals, 96 incident prostate cancer cases, and 415 randomly selected subjects representing an at-risk cohort. By design, the random sub-cohort contained 25 incident prostate cancer cases. In the sub-cohort, the frequency of HHV-8 seropositivity increased across age groupings (40-49 years: 3.5%, 50-59 years: 13.6%, and ≥ 60 years: 22.9%). HHV-8 seropositivity was higher in men with elevated (≥ 4.0 ng/mL) than men with non-elevated PSA at initial screening (30.4% vs. 9.9% seropositive; crude odds ratio (OR) 3.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.53-10.2; age-adjusted OR 2.42, 95% CI 0.91-6.47). HHV-8 seropositivity did not increase incident prostate cancer risk (age-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.88, 95% CI 0.46-1.69). Conclusions: Case-cohort analysis did not identify association between HHV-8 seropositivity and incident prostate cancer. However, analyses uncovered possible association between HHV-8 and PSA (a marker of prostate inflammation). Co-occurrence of HHV-8 seropositivity and PSA elevation may explain cross-sectional association between HHV-8 and PSA screen-detected prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Epidemiology


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