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Study finds that blood test can gauge prostate cancer risk
Date:1/16/2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. New genomics research has found that a simple blood test can determine which men are likely to develop prostate cancer. Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues found that five genetic variants previously associated with prostate cancer risk have a strong cumulative effect.

Reporting in New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a man with four of the five variants has an increased risk of 400 to 500 percent compared to men with none of the variants. The researchers then added a family history of prostate cancer to the equation for a total of six risk factors. A man with at least five of the six factors had increased risk of more than 900 percent.

The article was published Online First today and will be included in the Feb. 28 print issue.

The scientists say each variant was independently associated with prostate cancer risk and that the variants are fairly common in the population. Together, these five variants and a family history accounted for almost half (46 percent) of prostate cancer patients. The study involved analyzing DNA samples from 2,893 men with prostate cancer and 1,781 healthy individuals of similar ages all participants of a prostate cancer study in Sweden.

This is significant and could affect clinical care, said senior researcher Jianfeng Xu, M.D., Dr. PH., professor of epidemiology and cancer biology. The information could substantially improve physicians ability to assess risk and determine the need for more aggressive screening or even a biopsy.

For example, the test may be especially useful in men with a family history of prostate cancer or those who have a marginally elevated PSA (prostate specific antigen), he said.

The study is also important because it is one of the first to illustrate how a combination of several genes can affect risk of disease. Genomics teams nationwide are currently searching for combinations o
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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