|Micrograph of prostate adenocarcinoma, acinar type,|
the most common type of prostate cancer.
In an analysis of genetic information among more than 87,000 men, a global team of scientists says they have found 23 new genetic variants that increase a man's risk for prostate cancer. The meta-analysis has revealed once hidden mutations among men in a broad array of ethnic groups comprising men of European, African, Japanese and Latino ancestry. All in all, the study described in Nature Genetics, included information on 43,303 prostate cancer patients and 43,737 men without prostate cancer.
The researchers scanned more than 10 million areas of the genome where one genetic building block of DNA was switched for another, referred to as genetic variants, or more specifically, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The team then compared the scanned genome regions of prostate cancer patients with prostate cancer-free men to find the 23 new SNPs they now link to prostate cancer. Together with 76 previously discovered SNPs, the variants account for one-third of the inherited risk for prostate cancers in men of European descent. Because the variants are inherited commonly among populations, they can appear in men with little or no family history of prostate cancer.
The identification of prostate cancer-related SNPS could serve as a "molecular family history" to enable better screening guidelines and therapies.
For further Reading on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.