New genetic test to spot 6-fold increased risk of prostate cancer

A new study has found 23 new genetic variants that can identify men with 6-fold increased risk of prostate cancer.

Washington: A new study has found 23 new genetic variants that can identify men with 6-fold increased risk of prostate cancer.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, University of Cambridge, and University of Southern California led a huge search for new genetic variants including almost 90,000 men.

Researchers found that assessing the top 100 variants identified 10 percent of men with a risk almost three times as high as the population average, and said that this was high enough to investigate whether targeted genetic screening was merited.

In the research, scientists examined the genetic information of 87,040 men from all over the world. They combined genetic population studies of 43,303 men with prostate cancer and 43,737 controls from European, African, Japanese or Latino heritage to improve statistical power and increase their chances of identifying new variants.

From the combined population, they identified 16 new genetic markers linked to prostate cancer risk in European men, one of them associated with increased risk of early-onset disease, and seven in men of mixed heritage.

The study enabled the scientists to explain 33 percent of the inherited origins of prostate cancer in European men. A new clinical trial called BARCODE, which aimed to genetically screen 5,000 men for prostate cancer, would investigate if these genetic markers could improve on other tests for the disease.

The new study showed that for European men assessed for the 100 common variants, the 10 percent at highest risk were 2.9 times more likely than the average person to develop prostate cancer, while the top 1 percent were 5.7 times more likely to develop the disease.

The research is published in Nature Genetics. 

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