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Objective: The main outcome of this review was the association between a history of clinical chronic prostatitis (NIH category II or III) and a histologically confirmed diagnosis of prostate cancer. Materials and methods: Crude odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to analyze dichotomous data. For analysis of pooled data we adopted a random-effects model and the inverse variance weighing method. Heterogeneity was assessed by calculating the I2 value. Results: Out of 2794 screened records, we retrieved 16 full-text articles written in English, reporting the data of 15 case-control studies, involving 422.943 patients. Pooled analysis resulted in a significant crude odds ratio of 1.83 (95% CI: 1.43 to 2.35; P < 0.00001). The total set of data showed considerable heterogeneity (I2 = 91%). Both the Egger’s test and the Begg's test for funnel plot asymmetry did not reach statistical significance. The ‘trim and fill’ method applied to the funnel plot imputed 3 missing studies and the resulting adjusted estimate of the odds ratio was 2.12 (95% CI: 1.38 to 3.22). According to GRADE criteria, the overall quality of the meta-analysis data is low, mainly due to the presence of bias, confounders and extreme effect size outliers. Five among the included studies reported data assessed in 8015 African-American subjects. Pooled analysis resulted in a non-significant crude odds ratio of 1.59 (95% CI: 0.71 to 3.57; P = 0.26), and considerable heterogeneity (I2 = 90%). Conclusions: Meta-analysis of 15 case-control studies shows that a history of clinical chronic prostatitis can significantly increase the odds for prostate cancer in the general population, whereas such association in African-American individuals remains uncertain.
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