Genes linked to prostate cancer identified

By discovering the genes that increase the risk of prostate cancer, scientists hope to be able to improve outcomes for men with the disease through better screening and a more targeted approach to treatment.

Scientists at the The Institute of Cancer Research, (ICR) London examined the DNA code of 692 men with advanced prostate cancer, using a saliva test, to look for common genetic mutations. They found that nearly one in eight men who develop prostate cancer carry mutations in genes which repair damage to DNA.

Professor Johann de Bono, who lead the team believes that “Genetic testing for these mutations could identify men with advanced prostate cancer who may benefit from precision treatment.” This precision treatment involves the use of a new type of drug called PARP inhibitors which help overcome the effects of the damaged DNA repair genes. They have successfully been used in clinical trials for breast cancer patients with BRCA1+2 mutations which are also genes responsible for DNA repair.

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, London, said: “This valuable study has given us new insights into the causes of aggressive forms of prostate cancer that have spread round the body.

“It suggests testing for inherited DNA repair mutations could become an important stage in the treatment of men with advanced prostate cancer, by helping direct use of targeted cancer therapies.”

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