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Extra genes linked to testicular cancer

Wednesday October 28th, 2015

A gene test could help identify men at high risk of testicular cancer, British researchers say today.

Scientists led by Dr Clare Turnbull of the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, discovered four new genetic variants by analysing DNA samples from 6,059 patients with testicular cancer. These samples were comparing against DNA from 19,094 men without the disease.

A further 21 genetic variants have previously been linked to testicular cancer using genetic sequencing.

These variants appear to be more closely linked to testicular cancer risk than the variants highlighted in studies of other cancers. The team say that an individual in the top 1% of genetic risk has a 5% lifetime risk of developing testicular cancer. This equates to a risk ten times higher than that for the rest of the population.

As the treatment given will be similar for patients with and without the mutations, the main benefit of gene testing is to allow earlier diagnosis. But knowledge of the genetic links to the disease may help with future research.

Details of the study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Turnbull says: "Our study identified four new genetic risk factors for testicular cancer. Through previous studies this brings the total number of genetic variants known to be associated with testicular cancer to 25.

"In the future, if we can identify more of the genetic variation underlying testicular cancer, this sort of testing might be used clinically to help identify those at most risk of testicular cancer before they develop the disease, such that we can offer measures to help stop them from developing testicular cancer."

Litchfield, K. et al. Identification of four new susceptibility loci for testicular germ cell tumour. Nature Communications 27 October 2015 doi:10.1038/ncomms9690

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | Men's Health | Urology | UK News

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