The Prostate Cancer Charity comments on new research into genetic changes in aggressive prostate cancer

The Prostate Cancer Charity comments on new research, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, which has uncovered five genetic variants believed to play a key role in the progression and a man's chances of dying from the disease.

Dr Kate Holmes, Research Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity, explains: "This study offers some interesting genetic clues about a man's chances of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer - and the first evidence that genes inherited through the family can play a key role in a man's risk of dying from prostate cancer.

"The outcomes of this study of 4,000 men are twofold; it discovered changes in five genes that were closely associated with a man's risk of developing a 'tiger' as opposed to a 'pussycat' form of the disease - which is a long-standing and critical focus of prostate cancer research - and the potential to use these genes to form the basis of a new genetic test for the severity of the disease.

"This study provides a crucial, early step in helping us to understand more about the genetic origins of aggressive prostate cancer, although much more investigation is needed.  This study involved mostly white men, so further research is necessary, particularly amongst men from different ethnic backgrounds to establish whether such a test could work in men from all ethnicities. We look forward to results of further studies into these genetic variants with interest," she added.

Note to Editor:

The study found that men who were found to have variants in four or five of the genes identified were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer, than those men who only had variants in up to two of these genes.