Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prostate cancer linked to gene-influencing virus

Prostate and bladder, sagittal section.Image via Wikipedia
SAN FRANCISCO - A virus has been linked to the most aggressive form of prostate cancer, potentially leading the way to identifying men with the deadliest tumours and pinpointing their treatment.

The discovery, reported on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves the XMRV virus, said Dr Ila Singh, an associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Forty-four per cent of men with tumours graded nine out of 10 for severity on a standard scale had evidence of XMRV, Dr Singh's study found.

A more accurate way to identify the riskiest cases might improve therapy, since some tumours are slow growing and don't require aggressive treatment with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, all of which carry side effects.

About 1 million men have been needlessly treated for prostate cancer over the past two decades, largely because of greater use of a blood test for the protein called prostate specific antigen, or PSA, according to a study reported on Aug 31 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"There is a need for a better test to help determine who would benefit from treatment versus who could be left alone," said Dr Singh. BLOOMBERG

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 09-Sep-2009