Gene mutation could increase cancer risk

Jan. 31, 2009 at 3:55 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A gene mutation could increase the potential of aggressive tumor development in men suffering from prostate cancer, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Robert Burk of New York's Yeshiva University said his study found that men with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation were facing a greater risk of developing aggressive tumors, The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

The targeted gene mutation is most commonly linked to breast cancer.

The study, which only involved male test subjects of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, found that the presence of the genes does not place men at a greater risk for prostate cancer.

Burk, who works at Yeshiva university's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the finding could be helpful in early treatment of tumors.

"One of the biggest problems with early-stage prostate cancer is being able to distinguish between tumors with the potential to become aggressive and those that may persist for many years without enlarging or spreading," he said.

A Doctor's Guide release said 979 of the 2,230 study participants had prostate cancer, while the remainder did not. Their familial descent was chosen since the Ashkenazi Jewish population is much more likely to have a BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation.

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