Scientists have identified a genetic variant of the DAB2IP gene that is associated with the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Researchers suspect that the DAB2IP gene is involved in tumor suppression, suggesting that this protective mechanism goes awry in men with the variant form. The finding, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, might one day help doctors tailor treatment based on a patient's genetic makeup.
Both genetic and environmental factors are important in the development of prostate cancer, and it is only recently that some of the consistent genetic factors have been identified. It is not clear at present whether men who are genetically prone to the disease tend to have more aggressive disease than men who are not.
"Because there is no way to tell whether a person has or will have the aggressive version versus the mild version of prostate cancer, both forms are treated the same — with radiotherapy or surgery to remove the prostate gland. The identification of this genetic variant could lead to better risk assessment for aggressive disease, providing doctors with more information on how to best treat men who may be diagnosed with prostate cancer," said study author John Carpten.
Analysis of 3,159 samples led the researchers to conclude that men possessing the DAB2IP variant appear to carry a nearly 36 percent increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.
"In most cases, prostate cancer is not a death sentence, but it would be ideal to identify men with an aggressive form of disease," said co-researcher Jianfeng Xu. "Our finding suggests the possibility of developing a blood test to gauge disease type so doctors could decide if more aggressive treatment is needed."
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Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute