A faulty gene closely associated with breast cancer is also responsible for a particularly dangerous form of prostate cancer, research has confirmed.
The British Journal of Cancer reported a study that a University of Toronto research team found prostate cancer patients carrying the BRCA2 gene lived on average for four years after diagnosis as opposed to the 12 year average survival time for the general population of men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
This study which was based on 301 patients examined the closely related faulty genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which greatly increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, and are linked to ovarian cancer.
A man diagnosed with prostate cancer who carries the BRCA1 gene has his potential survival time cut from twelve to eight years after diagnosis.
The BRCA2 gene has already been linked to deadly prostate cancer, with an Icelandic study recording an average survival time among prostate cancer patients carrying the gene of just 2.1 years. This study appears to confirm that link.
In addition to the decreased survival time, men carrying a defective BRCA2 gene are five times more likely than men in the general population to develop prostate cancer.
Lead researcher Dr Steven Narod said: “We know that carrying a faulty BRCA2 gene increases a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, and our study shows that it also affects how long he will survive a diagnosis of the disease.”
Dr Lesley Walker, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: “Although only a very small percentage of men with prostate cancer will carry a faulty BRCA2 gene, they’re much more likely to die from the disease.
The Take Home Message– Men with a family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer should consult their doctors about having a genetic screen for the presence of either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. If either gene is present, at a minimum, their surveillance for prostate cancer should become very aggressive.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer and have either BRCA1 or BRCA2 your treatment modalities should be very aggressive, do not consider watchful waiting, even if your initial numbers are low.
The full story can be read at the BBC NEWS:
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW
Thanks for the nice write up. As both breast and prostate cancer are cancers of the reproductive systems, I’ve always thought the two could be related.
For these men that have the BRCA1 or 2 gene expressions this can be considered good news! Meaning that all of the research that has been done on BRCA1 and BRCA2 cancers can now be tweeked and applied to the male version of the same cancer. To my way of thinking, it could be the very best step in the direction of a cure for both cancers, true collaboration of resources.
There is a lot of very persuasive evidence that not only is prostate cancer and breast cancer “related”, but so is colon cancer.
Because prostate cancer is so far behind in research dollars compared to breast cancer, prostate cancer often borrows from breast cancer. Taxotere, the only FDA approved “chemotherapy” for prostate cancer treatment is one such example of a stolen good.