Scientists closer to identifying prostate cancer genes

In collaboration with the Press Association

Scientists have made significant steps towards identifying potential new genes involved in prostate cancer. Research conducted at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California discovered that there a number of locations on the human genome that can influence prostate cancer risk. According to the researchers, the seven locations can be found in a region of the human genome on chromosome eight. The study, published in Nature Genetics, found that these risk factors can help to predict the probability of a man developing the cancer. Commenting on the findings, author David Reich, assistant professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said: "The study has identified combinations of genetic variants that predict more than a fivefold range of risk for prostate cancer. "Both high and low-risk combinations of variants are common in human populations." Professor Reich called the discovery "an important step" towards helping scientists understand why some men develop prostate cancer while others do not. It could also be a vital step towards understanding the fact that prostate cancer is more prominent in Afro-Caribbean populations than other ethnicities. The report author added: "Clinical testing of these genetic variants may help us identify men who should be prioritised for early prostate cancer screening and prevention efforts."