Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene mutations increase risk for aggressive prostate cancer

02.02.2009
Genetic testing could shed light on tumor prognosis

Men who develop prostate cancer face an increased risk of having an aggressive tumor if they carry a so-called breast cancer gene mutation, scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report in today's issue of Clinical Cancer Research. The findings could help to guide prostate-cancer patients and their physicians in choosing treatment options.

The study, involving 979 men with prostate cancer and 1251 men without the disease, looked at whether participants carried mutations for either of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women carrying mutations in either gene face an increased risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both.

All the people enrolled in the Einstein study were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. The study focused on them because they are five times likelier than people in the general population to carry a mutation of any kind in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. The researchers looked for the presence of three particular mutations–two in BRCA1 and one in BRCA2. Scientists believe that genetic discoveries among the Ashkenazi can benefit society as a whole in terms of preventing and treating major diseases.

Having any of the three mutations did not increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, the study found. But for those men who did develop prostate cancer, two of the mutations–BRCA1-185delAG and the mutated BRCA2 gene–increased the risk that tumors would be aggressive or high-grade, as defined by a Gleason score of 7 or above. The Gleason score, based on the microscopic appearance of prostate tissue removed during a biopsy or surgery, assesses the aggressiveness of a prostate tumor on a scale from 2 (least aggressive) to 10 (most aggressive).

Specifically, prostate cancer patients with high-grade, aggressive tumors (Gleason scores of 7 or above) were 3.2 times more likely to carry the BRCA2 gene mutation than were men in the control group. Carriers of the BRCA1-185delAG mutation were also at increased risk of having an aggressive prostate cancer.

Previous investigations into a possible link between prostate-cancer risk and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have yielded conflicting results–perhaps because they involved small numbers of subjects and lacked well-matched control groups. "Our large study shows conclusively that prostate cancer patients with either the BRCA2 gene mutation or the BRCA1-185delAG mutation are more susceptible to aggressive cancers than people without that mutation," says Robert Burk, M.D., professor of pediatrics (genetics) at Einstein and senior author of the study.

Routine genetic testing for BRCA mutations–done by analyzing blood samples or cells swabbed from the inside of one's cheeks–wouldn't be justified for most men, says Dr. Burk: the prevalence of the mutations in the general population is very low; and men with high Gleason scores already know that their prostate cancer is aggressive. But, notes Dr. Burk, "our findings might have practical implications for some men diagnosed with early-stage (low Gleason score) prostate cancers–particularly Ashkenazi Jewish men, who are much more likely to have these mutations."

"One of the biggest problems with early-stage prostate cancer is being able to distinguish between tumors with the potential to become aggressive and those that may persist for many years without enlarging or spreading," notes Dr. Burk. For that reason, he says, Ashkenazi men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer might want to consider getting tested for the BRCA2 and BRCA1-185delAG mutations.

Knowing they have the mutation—and that their tumor may become aggressive—may influence treatment options that patients pursue. For example, a prostate cancer patient who has the BRCA2 mutation might vote against 'watchful waiting'—in which the growth of the cancer is monitored and treatment is held in abeyance—and instead opt for surgery or radiation treatments with or without hormone blockade therapy.

For early-stage prostate cancer patients in the general population, knowing they carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation would also be useful, says Dr. Burk. But these mutations are so rare in the general population—a prevalence of far less than one percent—that testing is unlikely to reveal their presence.

Michael Heller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aecom.yu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>