Gene sleuths on Sunday announced they had identified more than 10 new genetic links to prostate cancer, two of which would be included in a new diagnostic test aimed at spotting men at risk from this disease.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer afflicting men in developed
countries and heredity is known to play a key, but poorly understood
role in it.
Working separately, scientists gathered in three international
consortia crunched through genetic data garnered from blood samples
provided by thousands of volunteers.
Men with prostate cancer had a strong tendency to exhibit telltale
variants in locations on chromosomes 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 19 and the
X chromosome for gender, they reported in the latest issue of Nature
One of the group of investigators worked in Iceland, trawling over a
local DNA treasure trove.
Two of the genetic variants, on the X chromosome and chromosome 2,
would be included in a new lab test for prostate cancer, they said.
The new diagnostic tool, called deCODE PrCa, would look for a total
of eight such signatures, said deCODE genetics, a biopharmaceutical
company that is looking through the Icelandic DNA data in the search
for new medical products.
Researcher Gilles Thomas, who took part in a study by the US
National Institutes of Health (NIH), said that, individually, the
genetic variants "play a low-key part" in prostate cancer, but became
more dangerous when they accumulated.
"It's being able to spot several variants at one time that means we can
start helping people who are at high risk," he told AFP.
Men with close relatives who have had prostate cancer are twice as
likely to develop the disease than counterparts with no recent family
history of this ailment.
But, until now, only a few genes have been associated with the
disease, and they account for only a small percentage of potential
cases. – (Sapa-AFP)