Genetic testing 'could improve delivery of prostate cancer treatment'

7 July 2016

Genetic testing in men with advanced prostate cancer could aid the treatment of inherited forms of the disease, according to new research.

A team at the Institute of Cancer Research, London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust worked with colleagues from seven world-leading cancer centres in the US, using a simple saliva test to analyse the DNA of patients.

They examined the DNA code of 20 genes known to play a role in DNA repair in 692 men with advanced prostate cancer, finding that around 12 per cent of men had at least one mutation representing an error that is either inherited or developed before birth.

The most commonly defective gene was BRCA2, which was mutated in five per cent of men. It is thought that genetic testing for mutations of this kind could help to identify men with advanced prostate cancer who may benefit from precision treatment.

Currently, many drugmakers are focused on the development of cancer therapies specifically tailored to patients with specific genetic mutations, so tests of this kind can be extremely helpful in selecting the right recipients.

Professor Johann de Bono, professor of experimental cancer medicine at the Institute of Cancer Research, said: "Our study has shown that a significant proportion of men with advanced prostate cancer are born with DNA repair mutations - and this could have important implications for patients."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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