Background: To investigate mechanisms underlying our previous observation of a large rise in serum prostate-specific antigen, a marker of prostate pathology, during both sexually transmitted and systemic infections, we measured serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, in our previous case-control study of young, male US military members and compared our findings to those for PSA. Methods: We measured hsCRP before and during infection for 299 chlamydia, 112 gonorrhea, and 59 non-chlamydial, non-gonococcal urethritis (NCNGU) cases; before and after infection for 55 infectious mononucleosis (IM) and 90 other systemic/non-genitourinary cases; and for 220-256 controls. Results: Only gonorrhea cases were significantly more likely to have a large hsCRP rise (≥1.40 mg/L or ≥239%) during infection than controls (P < 0.01). However, gonorrhea, IM, and other systemic/non-genitourinary cases were more likely to have a rise of any magnitude up to one year post-diagnosis than controls (p = 0.038-0.077). Conclusions: These findings, which differ from those for PSA, suggest distinct mechanisms of elevation for hsCRP and PSA, and support both direct (eg, prostate infection) and indirect (eg, systemic inflammation-mediated prostate cell damage) mechanisms for PSA elevation. Future studies should explore our PSA findings further for their relevance to both prostate cancer screening and risk.
- C-reactive protein
- infectious mononucleosis
- prostate cancer
- prostate-specific antigen
- sexually transmitted infection