A small proportion of men suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) have chromosomal abnormalities, most frequently a loss of the Y chromosome. These changes are, however, likely related to aging, and cannot be considered relevant for BPH diagnosis, according to a study in the journal Investigative and Clinical Urology.
Chromosomal changes frequently occur in patients with prostate cancer, but whether these changes are also present in people with BPH is an open question. A few studies have reported findings of chromosomal abnormalities in BPH patients, but such reports are all relatively small.
In the study“Chromosomal aberrations in benign prostatic hyperplasia patients,“ researchers from Süleyman Demirel University in Turkey collected blood samples from 54 patients undergoing transurethral resection of the prostate for urological problems. When collecting biopsies before the procedure, clinicians detected prostate cancer in one patient who subsequently was not included in the study. In addition to a clinical examination of participants, the team measured levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and analyzed the chromosomes.
In a proportion of the patients — 9.4 percent — the researchers noted abnormalities in the appearance or number of chromosomes. Three patients — corresponding to 5.7 percent — had lost their Y chromosome. The other two had changes in their 22nd and 13th chromosome, respectively.
Age, levels of PSA, or prostate volume did not seem to be linked to the presence of the chromosomal abnormalities in these patients. Loss of the Y chromosome has been reported in other studies of BPH patients, and other researchers have suggested that the chromosomal change might contribute to the development of prostate cancer. These studies, however, often suffered methodological problems, such as diagnosing BPH using only PSA levels or drawing conclusions about BPH by analyzing non-cancerous prostate tissue from patients with prostate cancer.
Since the rate of Y-chromosome loss of in this study was so low, the authors do not believe that the change is related to the BPH diagnosis. They also concluded that the two other observed abnormalities were unrelated to BPH.
Rather, this change might be related to the aging process. Earlier studies have shown that Y-chromosome loss is more frequent in older men, and while the mean age of the entire group in this study was of 68 years, those with chromosome loss were, on average, 78 years old.