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A tool which can predict cancer

Researchers develop a tool to predict cancer in men

  • A tool has been developed for predicting the onset of prostate cancer in men.
  • Score from a PSA test is very versatile and can be applied to many age related diseases.
  • This study was published in journal BMJ.

A genetic prognostic tool has been developed by a team of researchers that may help in predicting the age of onset of prostate cancer in men.

Polygenic hazard score is intended to inform men whether to undergo Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. The score can be calculated at any time since an individual’s genotype does not change.

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How the score works

The score involves survival analysis to estimate the effect of individual genomes for small variations, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), on age at diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer.

This is especially critical for men at risk of developing prostate cancer at a very young age before standard guidelines recommend consideration of screening.

Prostrate cancer is one of the most common in men. Pixabay
Prostate cancer is one of the most common in men. Pixabay

“The polygenic hazard score is very versatile and can be applied to many age-related diseases,” said Chun Chieh Fan, from the University of California – San Diego.

Also read: Pregnancy seems Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors: Study

“In this case, the polygenic hazard score of prostate cancer captures the age variations of aggressive prostate cancer.”

The score has already been proven to be very useful in predicting the age of onset for Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers said.

Other than prostate cancer, lung cancer is most common amongst men. Pixabay
Other than prostate cancer, lung cancer is most common amongst men. Pixabay

How it was done

When men with a high polygenic hazard score were compared to those with average polygenic hazard score, their risk of aggressive prostate cancer was at least 2.9 times greater, the researchers said, adding that this kind of genetic risk stratification is a step toward individualised medicine.

Further, PSA tests are much more predictive of aggressive prostate cancer in men with high polygenic hazard score than in those with low polygenic hazard score. This suggests that the score can help physicians determine whether to order a PSA test for a given patient.

The study was published in journal BMJ. (IANS)

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