Using Genetic Research to Identify Younger Men at Future Risk of Prostate Cancer

Categories: Summer/Fall 2021
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Genetic research has the potential to predict which men are at greater risk for prostate cancer before they develop the disease.

Family history is a strong factor for developing prostate cancer, as are inherited genetic mutations. A current focus prostate cancer research is identifying which genes are associated with prostate cancer. Identifying these genes would help identify men who are at greater risk, and therefore should be monitored more closely from an earlier age.

Researchers in the UK performed a large DNA sequencing study to validate and identify genetic mutations associated with prostate cancer. The study’s authors sequenced the DNA of 1,281 men with young-onset prostate cancer and 1,160 men in a control group. The patients with prostate cancer had developed the disease at age 60 or younger.

Then, the researchers compared the DNA of the men with the disease with the men in the “control” group, who did not have prostate cancer. More of the men with prostate cancer had more of the genetic variants.

After analyzing the data, the study identified 23 unique DNA repair genes associated with a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer or a risk of aggressive disease. These findings should help facilitate the development of gene sequencing panels with potential to predict which men are at greater risk for prostate cancer before they develop the disease, and thus should be screened more frequently.

Eur Urol. 2019 Sep;76(3):329-337. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2019.01.050. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

 

©Dan Oldfield

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