A group of researchers has discovered a link between the ANO7 gene and the degree of aggression of prostate cancer. Who presents certain genetic mutations, would be more at risk of developing a violent form of the disease. The carriers of the modified gene would also have less chance of survival than the average.
To date there are no ways to diagnose the violent forms of prostate cancer in the early stages. The researchers then studied the DNA of 1,700 patients, comparing it with that of as many healthy men. They focused on mutations in the ANO7 gene, already linked to this type of tumor. They have thus identified genetic mutations related to aggressive forms of cancer.
According to the researchers, a genetic test for the ANO7 gene could identify patients at risk in the early stages. This would allow you to act immediately with more effective and better targeted treatments. However, the link between the gene and the disease is still unclear. Scientists have not yet been able to understand what the biological functions of ANO7 are. Further studies could perhaps lead to the development of treatments that act on these functions.
The team of Professor Johanna Schleutker has identified a mutation in particular. Carriers are more likely to get sick and it is easier than a severe form of cancer. Another mutation is instead linked to a lower probability of survival. The data could however be partial.
Although the study sample was very large, it included only Caucasian individuals. To validate the discovery, studies will be needed involving subjects from other parts of the world.