07:34pm Thursday 14 December 2017

Unlocking prostate cancer secrets

QIMR’s Dr Amanda Spurdle and Felicity Lose worked closely with a team of researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the University of Cambridge and Queensland University of Technology to find seven new regions across the human genome that increase the chances of developing prostate cancer.

“The team studied the genes of almost 60,000 men, looking at pieces of DNA that vary between individuals,” Dr Spurdle said.

“Our study found that the one per cent of men at highest-risk are about five times more likely than the average man to have prostate cancer, giving them a nearly one in two chance of developing the disease.

“This research built on previous genetic work around prostate cancer, which helped us target our work to the pieces of DNA which had suggested an increased risk of prostate cancer.

“Our findings are an exciting step in better understanding prostate cancer and could play a role in tailoring the screening and treatment of prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, so it is important we continue to collaborate with international experts to achieve the best health outcomes.”

Prostate cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the prostate gland. This gland is only found in males and is about the size of a walnut. It is situated where the bladder joins the urethra.

According to the Cancer Council Queensland, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men, following lung cancer.

The research has been published in Nature Genetics and is available online: http://www.nature.com/ng.


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