21 Feb 2014

PRESS COMMENT: Screening men with a family history of prostate cancer for a range of gene mutations can identify those who are at high risk of aggressive forms of the disease and in need of lifelong monitoring, a new study has shown.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found screening men who had multiple relatives with prostate cancer picked up 13 mutations in known cancer genes that predicted the development of the disease.

The research was mainly funded by Prostate Cancer UK with additional support from Cancer Research UK, and is published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said:

“The minefield of prostate cancer diagnosis is one of the biggest challenges facing treatment of the disease today. Current tests fail to differentiate between aggressive cancers that could go on to kill, and cancers that may never cause any harm. This lack of clarity means that too often men and their doctors are left having to make incredibly difficult decisions on whether to treat the disease or not. 

“We urgently need to understand more about which men are at risk of developing prostate cancer and in particular aggressive forms of the disease. Genetic testing to predict risk could revolutionise how we treat the 40,000 men diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK. These results are exciting as they add to the growing weight of evidence that men with a family history of prostate cancer who possess certain genes may be at higher risk, providing us with another crucial piece of the jigsaw."

For further information contact the Prostate Cancer UK press office: 020 3310 7188 or pressoffice@prostatecanceruk.org.

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