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Genetic Mutations Boost Prostate Cancer Risk
Date:1/16/2008

These variants plus a family history can increase risk up to tenfold, study suggests,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A new blood test that looks at five genetic variants could one day predict the risk of developing prostate cancer, a new study says.

Researchers found that among men with four of the five variants, the risk of prostate cancer is increased 400 percent to 500 percent, compared to men with none of the variants. And if a man has these gene variants and a family history of prostate cancer, his risk of developing the disease increases more than 900 percent.

"There are five genetic variants that have been shown to be associated with prostate cancer risk," said lead researcher Dr. Jianfeng Xu, a professor of epidemiology and cancer biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

For the study, the researchers examined DNA samples from 2,893 men with prostate cancer and compared them with DNA of 1,781 healthy men. All the men participated in a prostate cancer study in Sweden.

The researchers found that each of these common genetic variants was independently associated with prostate cancer risk. The five variants plus a family history of prostate cancer accounted for 46 percent of prostate cancer patients.

The effect of each variant is too small to be useful in predicting the risk for prostate cancer, Xu said. "But if you have four of these variants your risk is increased fourfold, which is something we have never seen before," he said.

The five genetic locations include three on chromosome 8q24, one on chromosome 17q12, and one on chromosome 17q24.3, according to the report, published online Jan. 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

When family history of prostate cancer is added to the mix, the results become more striking, Xu said. "Family history is the sixth factor," he said. "For a man with five gene variants and a family history the
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