London, June 01: Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified genes that put men at three fold risk of developing testicular cancer.
The researchers have uncovered variation around two genes associated with testicular cancer.
"Despite being quite heritable, there really have not been any clear genetic risk factor that can account for most cases of testicular cancer," Nature magazine quoted Dr Katherine L Nathanson, an assistant professor of Medicine and a specialist in medical genetics at the Abramson Cancer Centre, as saying.
"These variants are the first striking genetic risk factors found for this disease to date," she added.
The study showed that men with two copies of the common version of the c-KIT ligand (KITLG) gene were 4.5 times more likely develop testicular cancer.
Moreover, men with two copies of the common version of variants next to another gene, sprouty 4 (SPRY4) were at 1.48-fold risk.
"Our observed strong association is intriguing and may reflect the impact of the genetic effect of KITLG," said co-researcher Dr Peter A Kanetsky, an assistant professor of Epidemiology.
"However, since the prevalence of the common variant is so high, it may also reflect other underlying factors required in conjunction with KITLG for disease development. This remains to be determined," he added.