The first DNA test for prostate cancer began to test scientists from the UK and other countries. Examination is based on taking a saliva sample from men, and scientists hope they will be able to identify between 1% and 10% of the men who are most at risk.
A larger clinical trial will follow to conclusively determine whether the test can actually be a reliable tool for physicians, along with the PSA blood test, biopsies and finger test currently used for diagnosis. The widely used PSA test has several weaknesses, as it often gives false positive results, while it may “lose” some cases of aggressive cancer.
The development of the experimental genetic test was made possible as scientists announced that they discovered 63 new gene variants that increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to the News Agency. The researchers said that after discovering the 63 new genetic risk factors, they have brought to light more than 170 genes of risk, which they estimate to account for almost 30% of the genetic causes of prostate cancer.
As they said, a lot of things have been discovered about the genetic background of the disease so that it has paved the way for a DNA test for prostate cancer at last.
Each gene alone only marginally increases the risk, but the increased risk can be dramatic in common. If some of these genes are combined, they almost equalize the risk for about 1% of men, while nearly three times more than 10%.
The new major international genetic research involving over 200 researchers from more than 140,000 men (of whom nearly 80,000 had prostate cancer) further illuminates the genetic background of this male cancer. This will help to identify men in the high risk group for prostate cancer, which is the second most common cancer in men worldwide (around one in ten will be diagnosed at some point in their lives).
Researchers, headed by Genealogy Professor Rosalind Ills of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, who published the journal Nature Genetics, developed the new test, combining 63 new mutations with about 100 which had previously been discovered.
It is hoped that the examination will be able to predict which men are most at risk of genetic predisposition, and they will then make a prostate biopsy as a priority. The test will target 1% of the most endangered men because they have many of these high-risk genes in DNA.
These men are 5.7 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than the average man (the risk increases from one chance to 11 in one chance in the two). It is also estimated that, based on the genetic profile, about 10% of the male population has a nearly three times higher risk of prostate cancer than the general population.
Already, scientists are planning a larger clinical test of the genetic test to see in practice whether it is indeed possible to reduce prostate cancer cases if high-risk men are identified and given early advice or preventive treatment.
“If we can say on the basis of a DNA test how likely a man is to have prostate cancer, the next step will be to see if it is possible to use this information to prevent the onset of the disease,” said Dr. Ils.
It is remarkable that many of the 63 new risk genes are involved in the communication between the immune system cells and other cells in the body. This suggests that perhaps genetic defects in the molecular “pathways” of the immune system increase the risk of prostate cancer, which can open new healing pathways by developing new immune therapies for the disease