'Breast cancer' gene linked to prostate cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

Research from Poland has suggested that the CHEK2 gene, which is associated with breast cancer, may also double the risk of prostate cancer in men who inherit a faulty copy.

The study provides the clearest evidence yet that damage to this gene may play a role in prostate cancer development.

The study looked for faulty copies of CHEK2 in 2,000 men with prostate cancer, and 5,500 healthy individuals.

It found that men with prostate cancer were twice as likely to carry the CHEK2 mutation, and that men with a family history of the disease were four times as likely to have a faulty copy of the gene.

The multi-centre Polish research speculated that CHEK2 damage may be particularly common among east-European and Russian men.

"It will be of interest to see to what extent this deletion is responsible for cancer burden in other populations," said Dr Cazary Cybulski of Poland's Pomeranian Medical University.

The study is published in the Journal of Medical Genetics.