Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Scientists have found a genetic marker for aggressive prostate cancer, which ultimately could lead to a better way to detect the disease.
The genetic mutation is responsible for high risk of the aggressive form of cancer, according to researchers at the University of Turku in Finland, who published their findings Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.
No test currently exists to diagnose aggressive prostate cancer at an early stage. Prostate cancer, the most common malignancy among men in the United States, will affect approximately 11.6 percent of men during their lifetime, according the National Cancer Institute.
For the aggressive prostate cancer, the 10-year survival rate for men is 26 percent, according to The Prostate Center in England.
Researchers studied DNA from 1,769 prostate cancer patients and 1,711 healthy men. Their previous research had suggested there could be links to the mutated ANO7 gene.
"We found that small genetic changes to the ANO7 gene increase a patient's risk of aggressive prostate cancer," lead author Dr. Johanna Schleutker, of the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Turku, said in a press release.
Mutations to ANO7 were associated with the gene being more active and this suggests its biological function may be an important role in why these cancers are more aggressive, the researchers said.
But, they say, the function of ANO7 is not fully understood and requires further research.