A new prospective research study has confirmed the genetic link between some types of aggressive prostate cancer and hereditary cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer, it was recently revealed.
The Genetic Culprit
Scientists and researchers agree that risk factors for being diagnosed with many different cancers have a genetic component. One of the main culprits is known as the BRAC2 gene, which regulates the synthesis of a protein within the human body that repairs broken DNA and acts as a tumor growth suppressor. However, in instances where a patient has a specific mutation to their BRAC2 gene, they become more susceptible to certain cancers, including pancreatic cancer and ovarian and breast cancer in women.
Now, researchers have added aggressive prostate cancer as one of the illnesses that a mutation to the BRAC2 gene can be responsible for precipitating. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals that, regardless of other factors that contribute to cancer development, BRCA2 mutations themselves have a major role in aggressive prostate cancer. Additionally, patients with BRCA2 mutations were found to have, on average, much less favorable outcomes than those who did not possess the same mutation.
Genetic Screening Becomes a Powerful Tool
While having a mutated BRAC2 gene means being more susceptible to aggressive prostate cancer, identifying the role that BRAC2 plays in prostate cancer risk factors opens up a number of ways to improve the prognosis for those same prostate cancer patients. In particular, early screening for BRAC2 mutations can provide doctors and patients with opportunities to be wary of prostate health issues as the patient ages, increasing the likelihood that cancer is detected early. This, in turn, increases opportunities to treat that cancer effectively.
Additionally, knowing the role that BRAC2 gene mutations play means that this opens up new research avenues for treatment. Gene therapies to correct the mutation or treatments that correct the body’s inability to produce the BRAC2 protein in sufficient or proper amounts may also hold the potential to reduce the impact of carrying such a mutation.
This makes the new discovery linking BRAC2 mutations to prostate cancer a positive revelation. More tools to identify and treat prostate cancer, or even just the promise of new tools, can often spell all the difference in combating prostate cancer, both today and in the future.