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Scientists don’t yet know if the microbes are causative, but if proven it could save thousands of lives

Scientists have discovered bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer in work hailed as a potential revolution for the prevention and treatment of the most deadly form of the disease.

Researchers led by the University of East Anglia performed sophisticated genetic analyses on the urine and prostate tissue of more than 600 men with and without prostate cancer and found five species of bacteria linked to rapid progression of the disease.

The study does not prove that the bacteria drive or exacerbate prostate cancer, but if work now under way confirms their role, researchers can develop tests to identify men most at risk and potentially find antibiotics to prevent the cancer from claiming thousands of lives each year.

Ian Sample Science editor