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Prostate cancer gene test closer

Monday September 15th, 2014

A breakthrough in genetic understanding of prostate cancer is set to identify men at high risk of contracting the disease, British researchers revealed last night.

In total, some 23 extra genetic variants linked to the disease have been found in the latest research.

This means that doctors can now identify the 1% of men most at risk of the disease - and these men face a risk six times that of others, the researchers said.

The findings come from a study of 87,000 men from all over the world, reported in Nature Genetics.

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, worked with others in Cambridge, UK, and California, USA, on the project.

The extra 23 genes mean that some 100 linked to prostate cancer are now known.

The 23 include 16 linked to the development of the disease in European men and seven in men of mixed heritage.

Researcher Professor Ros Eeles, of the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: "Our study tells us more about the effect of the genetic hand that men are dealt on their risk of prostate cancer.

"We know that there are a few major genes that are rare and significantly affect prostate cancer risk, but what we are now learning is that there are many other common genetic variants that individually have only a small effect on risk, but collectively can be very important."

Experts said they hoped further studies would identify which genes were responsible for the most aggressive forms of cancer.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, of Prostate Cancer UK said: "There's no doubt that genetic testing for prostate cancer is an exciting area of research. The results of this study could take us a step closer to targeted screening by allowing us to identify those most at risk of the disease based on the genes that they possess.

"However, this is not the end of the story and the challenge now lies in translating this knowledge into a reliable test that can be used on a large scale through the NHS to find those men at highest risk."

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | Menís Health | North America | UK News

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