Breast Cancer Gene Strongly Related to Prostate Cancer

April 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

One of the common risk factors of prostate cancer is the genetic factor. When a person has a family history of cancer of any type, then the chance of him having prostate cancer is very high. If genes are linked with breast cancer, then the chances of the person to be diagnosed will increase by four fold. A new study on the causes of cancer of the prostate conducted by the Institute of Cancer Research affirms to this fact.

Prostate cancer is men related cancer. The abnormal cell growth originates from the cells of the prostate and can metastasize into other part of the body. The exact cause has not been identified by research but age, genes, diet, ethnicity, medications, etc have been linked with this condition. Here is an extract from a recently published report on the linkage between a faulty BRCA1 gene and prostate cancer:

Men with a strong family history of either cancer in their family could be offered genetic tests to discover if they are carrying a faulty BRCA1 gene so their health can be monitored from an early age.

Men with the BRCA1 gene have a one in 11 chance of developing prostate cancer by the age of 65, it was found.

The faulty gene seemed to be linked to a particularly agressive form of cancer making early detection and treatment vital.

The study was conducted by the The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and published in the British Journal of Cancer.

In breast cancer BRCA1 increases the chances of developing the disease by five fold, giving them a six in ten chance of breast cancer compared with a one in eight chance for healthy women.

It has led some women with faulty genes to have preemptive mastectomies rather than live with high risk of breast cancer.

BRCA1 is also associated with ovarian cancer.

Emma Malcolm, chief executive of the charity Prostate Action, which co-funded the study, said: “Early detection of prostate cancer can vastly improve the chances of successful treatment but at the moment there isn’t an effective way of screening for the disease.

“We’ve long known about the link between breast cancer and prostate cancer and this research confirms the likelihood of men developing prostate cancer from the inherited faulty BRCA1 gene.

“Once gene testing becomes faster and cheaper we may be able to identify those men at a higher risk of prostate cancer and monitor them from an early age.”

Study author Professor Ros Eeles, from The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Until now there has been some doubt as to whether mutations in the BRCA1 gene increase the risk of prostate cancer.

“This large study has shown that men with prostate cancer have a one in 200 chance of having an alteration of this gene and men with this alteration have a 3.8 fold increased risk of developing the disease.

“This translates as nearly nine per cent risk of prostate cancer by the age of 65. The important thing about this result is that there are drugs that can target specific defects that occur with the BRCA1 mutation and this kind of result can open up the possibility of targeted medicines based on genetics.”

In the study 913 men underwent genetic screening, with results obtained from 886 and four men were found to have alterations in BRCA1. Three out of those four men were diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65.

As well as detecting BRCA1 in men with a history of cancer in their families to identify those at greater risk, genetic screening of men who already have the disease could improve their treatment, the researchers said.

There are already drugs in use that target BRCA1. Read the full report here

Conclusively, with this breakthrough research, it is another plus for prostate cancer research. The chances of medical science to find the best cure and treatment for this male related ‘scourge’ is now boosted. Men who have family history of any type of cancer should therefore go for periodic tests in order to catch the signs of this disease early. With early detection, the right treatment can be carried out effectively. So, even with this latest study by the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, genetic linkage with the condition has been confirmed. Go for early test if you have a family history of breast cancer.

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