Four New Genetic Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer
By Cheri Cheng
According to the American Cancer Society, testicular cancer is projected to afflict 7,920 men within the United States and kill 370 of them in 2013. Although testicular cancer is not as common as other diseases and not as fatal since treatment is effective, preventing the disease is still key in stopping the increasing rates of testicular cancer, which has almost doubled within the past 40 years. In a new study, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered four new genetic variants that could be linked to testicular cancer and could potentially help screen men who are high-risk for the disease.
"As we continue to cast a wider net, we identify additional genetic risk factors, which point to new mechanisms for disease," said Katherine L. Nathanson, MD. "Certain chromosomal regions, what we call loci, are tied into testicular cancer susceptibility, and represent a promising path to stratifying patients into risk groups-for a disease we know is highly heritable."
The researchers initially looked at 931 men who had testicular cancer and compared them to 1,975 men without the disease. They discovered four particular loci that could be markers for testicular cancer alone. After the meta-analysis pinpointed these four genetic variants, the researchers confirmed their findings in a larger group consisting of 3,211 men with testicular cancer and 7,591 men without. This final totals the number of genomic regions tied to testicular cancer to 17.
The researchers hope that these new markers could help improve ways of determining who is consider high-risk for the cancer. If men received faster treatments and use preventable measures, the rates of the cancer could ideally decrease. The findings were published in Nature Genetics.