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Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is a frequent condition in aging men, which affects life quality, causing principally lower urinary tract symptoms. Epidemiologic studies suggest that BPH may raise the risk of developing prostate cancer (PCa), most likely promoting a chronic inflammatory environment. Studies aiming at elucidating the link and risk factors that connect BPH and PCa are urgently needed to develop prevention strategies. The BPH microenvironment, similar to the PCa one, increases immune infiltration of the prostate, but, in contrast to PCa, immunosuppression may not be established yet. In this study, we found that prostate-infiltrating lymphocytes (PILs) expanded from hyperplastic prostate tissue recognized tumor-associated antigens (TAA) and autologous tissue, regardless of the presence of tumor cells. PILs expanded from BPH samples of patients with PCa, however, seem to respond more strongly to autologous tissue. Phenotypic characterization of the infiltrating PILs revealed a trend towards better expanding CD4+ T cells in infiltrates derived from PCa, but no significant differences were found. These findings suggest that T cell tolerance is compromised in BPH-affected prostates, likely due to qualitative or quantitative alterations of the antigenic landscape. Our data support the hypothesis that BPH increases the risk of PCa and may pave the way for new personalized preventive vaccine strategies for these patients.

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Department of Oncology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, University Hospital of Lausanne, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.