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Five Inherited Genetic Variants May Indicate A High Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer treatments are far less than ideal and can cause unnecessary suffering for patients who might not be at a high risk of succumbing to the disease. Researchers are constantly searching for new ways to provide diagnostic information to physicians attempting to provide patients with an accurate prognosis once the disease has been diagnosed. William Phelps, program director of translational and preclinical cancer research at the American Cancer Society, said – “If the treatments we had for prostate cancer were very tolerable or very safe you would probably treat everybody, but the treatments we have available today are less than ideal.”

A study1 team, led by Janet L. Stanford, co-director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s program in prostate cancer research, has identified five inherited genetic variants play a role in prostate cancer progression and mortality. The team gathered blood samples from more than 1,300 prostate cancer patients living in the Seattle region and diagnosed with prostate cancer between the ages of 35 and 74. They then compiled DNA analyses of the Seattle samples and nearly 2,900 Swedish prostate cancer patients. The five single-letter mutations (or SNPs) were found to have a significant bearing on prostate cancer progression as measured by cell death, tumor growth, inflammation, androgen hormone levels, blood-vessel development and bone density. Patients found to have at least four out of the five SNP mutations seemed to face a 50 percent higher risk for dying from their disease as compared with those who carried two or fewer of the mutations.

The researchers hope that their findings will lead to the development of a simple blood test to screen for the mutations to help physicians assess the long-term risk faced by newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients. Dr. Stanford hopes that – “The ability to distinguish patients at elevated risk for having aggressive, life-threatening prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis could improve care for the subset of cases most likely to benefit from aggressive therapy and help avoid over-treatment of patients whose tumors are likely to remain indolent.”

 1  “Genetic Variants in the LEPR, CRY1, RNASEL, IL4, and ARVCF Genes Are Prognostic Markers of Prostate Cancer-Specific Mortality” – Daniel W. Lin, Liesel M. FitzGerald, Rong Fu, Erika M. Kwon, Siqun Lilly Zheng, Suzanne Kolb, Fredrik Wiklund, Pär Stattin, William B. Isaacs, Jianfeng Xu, Elaine A. Ostrander, Ziding Feng, Henrik Grönberg, and Janet L. Stanford – Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers – Published OnlineFirst August 16, 2011 – doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0236.

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1 comment to Five Inherited Genetic Variants May Indicate A High Risk Of Prostate Cancer

  • There is so much that we have to look at when we are dealing with the whole subject of senior’s health. What applies to people in their 30′s or 40′s doesn’t necessarily hold true for seniors. It’s great to have articles and sites like this whose focus is on seniors health. After all most of us (hopefully) will become one some day.

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