High Prostate Cancer Risk Linked to Inherited Mutations in DNA-repair Genes

High Prostate Cancer Risk Linked to Inherited Mutations in DNA-repair Genes
Mutations in DNA-repair genes, including the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, are involved in an inherited high risk of prostate cancer and, potentially, the risk of an aggressive cancer, according to researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington. The study, "Inherited DNA-Repair Gene Mutations in Men with Metastatic Prostate Cancer," published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found the mutations in about 12 percent of men with the cancer — and found that men with metastatic prostate cancer were five times more likely than most people to have these DNA-repair gene mutations. Results suggest that screening for such mutations could help tailor their treatment and encourage family members to consider their own cancer risk. “I think these data really suggest that we need to engage men in discussions about genetics, where it has not been central before,” Dr. Heather Cheng, a Fred Hutch and University of Washington prostate cancer researcher, said in a press release. Because BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have long been associated only with breast and ovarian cancers, it was thought that the mutations only affected women. The team analyzed 20 DNA-repair genes in metastatic prostate tumors and healthy tissues of 692 men. They found that 16 of the genes were mutated in both malignant and healthy cells in 12 percent of the metastatic cancer patients — much high
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