“Gene polymorphism” and prostate cancer: what do we know?

Frankly … not that much … but a new “brief review” in BJU International provides a good summary of the little that we really do know about the variations between specific areas of human DNA (“gene polymorphism”) and the relationship of such genetic variation to risk for prostate cancer.

The article by Dianat et el. is available in full on the UroToday web site if you sign up as a member (and there is no cost for doing this). The article itself will be a good resource for support group leaders and other prostate cancer educators.

The authors deal with what we know about variation in several genes associated with prostate cancer, including:

  • The androgen receptor (AR) gene
  • Cell cycle control genes
  • Cell adhesion genes
  • Angiogenesis-related genes
  • Vitamin D pathway genes and
  • Chromosomal loci

However, this is a very “dense” article that will be hard going for people without a good understanding of molecular biology and genetics.

The bottom line is that differences between the results of the various studies on gene polymorphisms in prostate cancer (to date) can be explained partly by ethnic differences, partly by limited sample size, and partly by other risk or protective factors that can modify these effects.

We are going to need to do a lot more research before we have any really clear understanding about how particular variations in the structures of particular sections of DNA in our genes really affects risk for prostate cancer.

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