Scientists in Britain said Sunday they had found the first genes associated with testicular cancer, the commonest form of
cancer for men between ages 15 and 45.
Telltale variants in chromosomes 5, 6 and 12 are linked with an
increased risk of the disease, according to their study, which
compared the genetic code of 730 men who had testicular cancer with
that of healthy men.
Inheriting the basket of three factors boosts the risk of the
cancer, called testicular gem cell tumour, by up to fourfold.
The study is published online in the journal Nature Genetics.
"We have known for some time that men whose father, brothers or
sons had testicular cancer are much more likely to get it
themselves and we have been searching for this genetic link," said
one of the investigators, Elizabeth Rapley of the Institute of
Cancer Research, in the southern English county of Surrey.
"We believe there are more (risk factors) still to be found and
we are working on identifying the rest."
The three telltales lie near genes that nurture testicular cells
which are precursors in sperm development.
Worldwide incidence of testicular cancer is 7.5 cases per
100,000 men, but the rates vary remarkably between countries and
according to ancestry, the ICR said in a press release.
Why this is so is unclear. Inheritance, though, is a well-known
risk factor and seems to be far higher than for other cancer types.
Studies have found that the risk to brothers of testicular
cancer patients is eight to 10 times higher than the general
population, while for fathers of patients, the risk is four to six
Testicular cancer is 99 percent curable if caught in its early
stages, the ICR said. - (SAPA, June 2009)