Severe Acne Linked to Prostate Cancer

A new study from Johns Hopkins showed a link between severe acne and prostate cancer.

The study found that men who had taken antibiotics for acne for four years or more were 70% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had not used antibiotics for that length of time. Having to use oral antibiotics to treat acne was seen as a marker for having severe acne.


The study was conducted because other research had found that Propionobacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, was found in 1/3 of prostate biopsy samples.

It is a recurring theme in medicine that inflammation is the root of many diseases — excess inflammation is seen in conditions from psoriasis to heart disease. It’s likely that this link between severe acne and prostate cancer is also due to excess inflammation. The authors propose that men who have a more severe inflammatory response to the acne bacteria on their skin might have a similar increased inflammation in their prostate. Years of such excess inflammation could increase their risk of developing cancer.