Scientists discover genetic pattern that predicts prostate cancer severity

Apr 26, 2011

A certain genetic pattern may help doctors identify men who are at risk for severe forms of prostate cancer.

Though prostate cancer can vary widely in its severity, scientists are one step closer to being able to determine how aggressive a particular patient's case is, according to a recent study in Lancet Oncology Journal.

The study included 703 male participants from whom tissue samples were taken either from removal of the prostate or from the biopsy that was used to diagnose the illness, researchers said.

After analyzing the tissues, researchers found that men who have a high number of genes that encourage cell growth, known as cell cycle progression genes, are three times more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men with low levels of CCP genes.

The particular type of gene also played a role in cancer remission, with men with high amounts of CCP 70 percent more likely to experience a cancer recurrence, according to scientists.

Researchers hope this discovery may influence the creation of a test that will help doctors know if a patient is at risk for a fatal form of prostate cancer and modify their treatment based on that prognosis.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the U.S. Given the disease's high fatality rate, after developing the illness, some sufferers may have a difficult time obtaining health and life insurance. 

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