Rabu, 22 Februari 2012

Prostate Cancer May Be Related to Breast Cancer Gene Mutation

Family history, old age and the African-American race are some factors that increase the risk of an individual developing prostate cancer. And now, new findings suggest that a particular gene mutation may have an effect on how the disease progresses.

Research conducted by US scientists has revealed that that some men with prostate cancer may be at increased risk of aggressive tumor. Men who are carriers of a gene mutation which is normally linked to breast cancer are in the increased risk category. For prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, this finding has significant implications.

Prostate cancer patients are at times advised to adopt a wait and watch approach where more aggressive treatment options are employed only if the cancer shows signs of rapid metastasis. But if the patient is a mutated gene carrier, this approach may not be advisable because of the high likelihood that the tumor grows aggressively. In such cases, surgery or radiation, or a combination of both, would perhaps be a preferable option.

So how do you know whether the tumors are aggressive or not? It is quite difficult to make a distinction between tumors that may remain without enlarging or spreading and aggressive tumors. 979 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1251 men free of the disease, were selected for the study. In this sample, the scientists took care to exclude Ashkenazi Jews because they are five times more likely to carry the mutated genes and their presence would have skewed the results of the study. The researchers took a closer look at whether any of the men carried the mutated variants of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that are linked to ovarian and breast cancer in women.

The good news is that even if you are a carrier of the mutated gene, you are not at increased risk for developing prostate cancer. However, if you already have prostate cancer and carry the mutated gene, you are at a very high risk for developing aggressive tumors.

As a man grows older, he is at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Above 65% of prostate cancer diagnoses are made in men above 65 years of age.

Men belonging to the African American race are also 56% more likely to develop the disease than Caucasian men. The mortality rate of African Americans due to prostate cancer is also 2.5 times that of Caucasian men.

If your close blood relatives have the disease, you are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer. And if more than 2 relatives have a history of prostate cancer, the likelihood is further increased to four times.

According to the study on gene mutation and prostate cancer, participants with aggressive tumors were found to be 3.2 times more likely, than the men in the control group, to be carriers of the BRCA2 gene mutation.

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