Testing for the BRCA genes could help predict aggressiveness of prostate cancer

A new study from the ICR suggests that in the future testing for the BRCA genes could help predict whether a man's prostate cancer is likely to develop into advanced disease.

The BRCA2 gene mutation had previously been linked to hereditary breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. This new research has found that men with BRCA2 are more likely to develop aggressive tumours and have lower survival rates. Around one in every 100 men with prostate cancer will have the the BRCA2 gene mutation.            

Dr Kate Holmes, Head of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said: "There are 40,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, yet we still cannot tell which men will be most likely to develop advanced disease. This leaves many men facing agonising decisions about which treatment path to take without knowing the true severity of their disease.

"The results of this study suggest that testing for the BRCA genes could help towards making this distinction, and therefore aid treatment decisions. Further developments such as these are crucial if we are to tailor treatments more effectively, and help more men with prostate cancer survive."

Being able to distinguish aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancer is one of Prostate Cancer UK's three key research priorities. You can read more about our 2012-2020 Research strategy on our research pages.

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