Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Genitourinary Microbiome and Prostate Cancer Risk

Key clinical point: The reviewed studies have identified a unique genitourinary (GU) microbiome and linked both the GU microbiome and unique gut microbial signatures with prostate cancer and prostate cancer treatments.

Major finding: Hierarchical analysis found a unique microbiome signature for higher Gleason score cancers and validation PCR studies noted a marked number of viral genomic insertions into host DNA.

Study details: A clinical review on the most current research looking at prostate cancer and its link with the gut and genitourinary microbiome was performed.


Wheeler KM, et al. Curr Urol Rep. 2019 Sep 7;20(10):66. doi: 10.1007/s11934-019-0922-4.


Research into the microbiome/cancer interaction has dramatically increased over the past several years. The review by Wheeler and Liss provides an overview of the current state of research into the microbiome that is of potential relevance to prostate cancer. Currently, none of the findings are immediately applicable to prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, many of the findings have implications for next steps in research. Those of particular interest include unique microbiome signatures that associate with Gleason scores, the effect of oral androgen deprivation therapy on gut microbiota, and, especially, the relationship between the gut microbiome and response to immunotherapy. —Mark A. Klein, MD