The pathogenesis of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A proposed hypothesis and critical evaluation

John T. Grayhack*, James M. Kozlowski, Chung Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: We used expanding observations regarding effects of testicular epididymal plasma and nonandrogenic testis factor(s) (NATF) on prostate growth to propose and evaluate a hypothesis regarding the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in man. Materials and Methods: Current experimental data regarding the presence of NATF were reviewed. The potential for their exposure to the prostate by various routes was assessed. These observations were coupled with recognized anatomical, histological and epidemiological characteristics of BPH to construct a hypothesis regarding its pathogenesis. Results: In vivo observations in man, rats and dogs supported the systemic secretion of NATF. These factors probably are, at least in part, spermatogenesis related. In vitro evaluation of the effect of spermatocele derived testicular epididymal plasma on human prostate stromal cells indicated the presence of androgen independent and androgen synergistic stromal growth promoters. These factors have potential local and systemic access to the prostate. The almost ubiquitous development of a regional, histologically variegated nodular growth occurring in the prostate in the androgen diminished environment of the aging man is compatible with local as well as systemic exposure to an age associated secretion of NATF. Conclusions: We propose that human BPH is an induced phenomenon that is usually initiated by local episodic exposure of periurethral prostate to mitogens secreted by the testis/epididymis. Once initiated, isolated or complex interacting proliferative stimuli from the testis/epididymis and a variety of other sources may achieve exposure to the prostate by several routes and simulate prostate growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2375-2380
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6 II
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Epididymis
  • Plasma
  • Prostatic hypertrophy
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The pathogenesis of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A proposed hypothesis and critical evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this