Faulty Gene Linked To Prostate Cancer Risk

Missing sections of a gene, which programmes the manufacture of a chemical to alert the body to DNA damage, almost doubles the risk of prostate cancer, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Medical Genetics. The researchers assessed almost 2,000 Polish men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1999 and 2005 to see if they carried the CHEK2 kinase gene, or CHEK2 for short.

The findings were compared with those from almost 5,500 healthy people from the general population. The same missing sections (exons 9 and 10) were found in 24 of the healthy people (0.4%) and in 15 of the men who had been diagnosed with the disease (0.8%). They also found this deletion in four out of 249 men with familial prostate cancer.

Based on their findings, the authors calculated that this particular deletion almost doubled the risk of developing prostate cancer in general, and almost quadrupled it in men with a family history of the disease.

The authors suggest that this deletion may also be relatively common among men from other parts of eastern Europe, including the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, the Baltic states, and countries in the Balkans.

And the findings prompt them to speculate whether the same deletion might not be carried by men elsewhere in the world.