Scientists Identify 'Faulty Cancer Gene'

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cancer cellScientists have identified a faulty gene which can almost double the risk of prostate cancer.

The finding published online by the Journal of Medical Genetics could help doctors treat the gene's damaging effect.

The gene called CHEK2 programmes the manufacture of a chemical to alert the body to DNA damage.

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 gene.

The findings were compared with those from almost 5,500 healthy people from the general population.

The same missing sections of CHEK2 were found in 24 of the healthy people (0.4 per cent) and in 15 of the men who had been diagnosed with the disease (0.8 per cent).

They also found this defective gene in four out of 249 men with prostate cancer that runs in families.

Based on their findings the authors calculated 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.

They suggest 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.

Dr Cezary Cybulski, of Pameranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland, said: "It will be of interest to see to what extent this deletion is responsible for cancer burden in other populations."

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