Researchers in London have identified several genetic mutations within prostate DNA that put men at higher risk for developing the more deadly form of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men around the world. In the U.S. alone, approximately 233,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. But some men can live their whole lives with disease without ever needing treatment while others have a more aggressive form of the condition that requires more invasive therapy. To date, the problem for health care providers has been figuring out which is which.

New research from the Institute of Cancer Research in the U.K. suggests that screening men with a family history of prostate cancer for certain gene mutations could help doctors identify which men are more likely to develop an aggressive form of of the disease.

For the study, published recently in The British Journal of Cancer, researchers analyzed blood samples from 191 men with prostate cancer. All men had a history of three or more prostate cancer cases among close family. The researchers chose men with this kind of family history in order to mimic the gene testing that is currently used to predict aggressive forms of breast cancer in women.

Researchers found that mutations in eight genes 'increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer'. They are planning to fine tune these results even further in a larger study that will look at the DNA of over 2,000 men and 192 genes. They are hoping that in the next few years, their research can lead to the development of a DNA test that will help men understand whether or not they are at higher risk for developing the most deadly forms of prostate cancer.

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