Gene Raises Prostate Cancer Odds

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 11:06 AM

By Nick Tate

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Scientists have identified a genetic condition that markedly raises a man’s odds of developing prostate cancer and getting the disease early in life.

Men with the inherited condition called Lynch syndrome face a higher lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a new study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Past studies have shown people with Lynch syndrome have up to an 80 percent lifetime risk of also developing colorectal cancer and are also more likely to be diagnosed with endometrial, gastric, ovarian, urinary tract, pancreatic, and brain tumors.

About 1 in 440 people carry the genetic mutation that causes it, making it one of the most common inherited cancer conditions.

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The new findings in prostate cancer suggest younger men who at higher risk be screened for the disease.

"For men with an inherited risk factor for prostate cancer, they should still be thinking about prostate cancer screening. Our study suggests men with Lynch syndrome might benefit from regular prostate cancer screening," said lead researcher Victoria M. Raymond, a certified genetic counselor with the University of Michigan's Cancer Genetics Clinic.

For the study, researchers tracked 198 families with a history of cancer enrolled in registries at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center or at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. More than 4,100 men were included in this analysis. The results showed men with a mutation linked to Lynch syndrome had a lifetime risk of prostate cancer of 30 percent, compared to 18 percent among the general population. Men aged 20-59 who carried this mutation also faced a higher risk of prostate cancer than the general public.

Results of the study were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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