In a new study entitled “A meta-analysis of 87,040 individuals identifies 23 new susceptibility loci for prostate cancer” and published in the journal Nature Genetics, an international group of researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Southern California, identified 23 new genetic variants associated with prostate cancer risk, allowing them to explain up to a third of the inherited risk and enabling doctors to spot 1% of men who are up to six times more prone to develop prostate cancer than the average population.
Researchers screened 87,040 men of different ethnicities, including European, African, Japanese, and Latino, including 43,303 men with prostate cancer. Around 100 genetic variants were screened, identifying 10% of men with a risk almost three times as high as the population average and leading scientists to determine whether targeted genetic screening can be an effective method of testing for prostate cancer risk.
Furthermore, researchers could identify 16 new genetic markers linked to prostate cancer risk in European men, one of them associated with an increased risk of early-onset disease, and seven associated with men with mixed heritage.
The results from this study now allow scientists to explain 33% of the inherited origins of prostate cancer in European men and have led to the development of a new clinical trial, BARCODE, which will genetically screen 5,000 men for prostate cancer, determining if these genetic markers can improve on other tests for the disease and if they can help diagnose men at risk of developing dangerous forms of prostate cancer that need urgent treatment
“Our study tells us more about the effect of the genetic hand that men are dealt on their risk of prostate cancer. We know that there are a few major genes that are rare and significantly affect prostate cancer risk, but what we are now learning is that there are many other common genetic variants that individually have only a small effect on risk, but collectively can be very important. To use the playing cards analogy again, sometimes multiple low cards can combine to form a high risk score. We can now explain a third of the inherited risk of prostate cancer, and will shortly be conducting a clinical trial to find out whether testing for genetic variants in men can successfully pick up the disease early, and help direct targeted interventions for patients”, Professor Ros Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said in ICR press release.