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Prostate Cancer with BRCA Mutation have Poor Prognosis

Update Date: Nov 16, 2014 09:09 PM EST
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Prostate cancer with BRCA mutations has poor prognosis compared to disease conditions without the mutation. 

BRCA mutations are associated with breast and ovarian cancer in women, promoting several thousands of women around the world to get tested for genetic risk arising from mutations of the BRCA genes. These genes work by repairing DNA damages in cell. Mutations disturb the repairing process, causing tumor cells to grow. Researchers from UK and Spain have now found that BRCA mutations reduce 10-year survival and also respond less favorable to treatment.

The researchers studied 1,300 men with prostate cancer including 67 who were BRCA gene mutations. They found that those who had undergone radiotherapy and were carrying mutations had a 10-year survival rate of 39 percent as against 80 percent in the group which did not have the mutation. The difference was however smaller when surgical treatment was done, prompting researchers to call for long-term monitoring to verify the risk posed by the difference.

The study also called for individualized treatment targeting BRCA mutations to improve survival.

"An important issue is that during consultation we usually cannot predict which patients will evolve less favorably and which will live less time than others," researchers said.

Compounds called PARP inhibitors have shown efficiency in combating breast cancer with BRCA mutations. Clinical trial are said to be underway for prostate cancer treatment.

"Prostate tumors with sporadic mutations [present only in the tumor, not inherited] in BRCA, also respond to these inhibitors, according to recent data presented during the ESMO [European Society for European Oncology] congress in Madrid," said David Olmos at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, according to a press release.

The researchers will now investigate whether sporadic (non-hereditary) mutations in patients are associated with a poor prognosis.

"We are investigating whether patients with sporadic mutations in these genes also show more aggressive and metastatic tumors, and whether or not they respond less well to conventional treatments than patients not carrying BRCA mutations. There would be a need for closer monitoring of patients with BRCA mutations, regardless of the origin [hereditary or sporadic], in order to improve the clinical course of these patients," researchers said. 

The findings of the study have been published in the the journal European Urology

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