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Prostate cancer genes give 1 in 2 chance

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men, following lung cancer.  But Queensland researchers are taking big steps in helping unravel the mystery around prostate cancer.

Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), as part of an international study, have made a significant discovery in identifying men at a greater risk of prostate cancer.

QIMR’s Dr Amanda Spurdle and Dr Felicity Lose worked closely with a team of researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the University of Cambridge and Queensland University of Technology to find seven new regions across the human genome that increase the chances of developing prostate cancer.

“The team studied the genes of almost 60,000 men, looking at pieces of DNA that vary between individuals,” Dr Spurdle said.

“Our study found that the one per cent of men at highest-risk are about five times more likely than the average man to have prostate cancer.  This equates to a nearly one in two chance of developing the disease.

“This research built on previous genetic work, which helped us target our work to the pieces of DNA which had suggested an increased risk of prostate cancer.”

At the early and potentially curable stage, prostate cancer generally does not have obvious symptoms. This makes it different from other benign prostate disorders, which may result in urinary symptoms.

“Our findings are an exciting step in better understanding prostate cancer and could play a role in tailoring the screening and treatment of prostate cancer,” Dr Spurdle said.

“Prostate cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, so it is important we continue to collaborate with international experts to achieve the best health outcomes.”


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