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How prostate gene findings could lead to new testing

Monday March 27th, 2017

At least 6% of men are genetically at risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, a conference in London, UK, heard yesterday.

Researchers working in three countries have found high risk variants in the Kallikrein 6 gene, known to be linked to prostate cancer.

The conference of the European Association of Urology heard that the findings could lead to a test to identify high risk men.

The work has been led by Dr Alexandre Zlotta, of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, and Paul Boutros, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, involved a study of patients from three research groups in Switzerland, Canada and the USA.

They say the high risk genes are found in between 6% and 14% of men.

Speaking to the conference about the work recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr Zlotta said: "This makes it one of, if not the, most common genes yet found to be associated with aggressive prostate cancer.

He added: “We found that in those men with prostate cancer treated by surgery or radiation, who had these inherited gene variant mutations had a three-fold increase in the risk of treatment failure, which means that after treatment, they were three times more likely to have the cancer recurring than the rest of the population.

"It should mean that if you have a high PSA level but are unsure about having a biopsy to confirm whether you have cancer, this test could help you decide. It also means that we can begin to look at better screening for those who are at risk, for example among those men with a family history."

Germline Mutations in the Kallikrein 6 Region and Predisposition for Aggressive Prostate Cancer Journal of the National Cancer Institute 14 March 2017 [abstract]

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | Men's Health | North America | UK News

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