April 07, 2020

Widely occurring protein linked to prostate cancer

WASHINGTON — A quarter of men have high levels of a growth protein linked to a greater likelihood of prostate cancer, says a new study that may point scientists toward ways to reduce the incidence of the cancer.

Dr. Michael Pollak of McGill University, who co-authored the study with Harvard University scientists, said that if the new research is confirmed, doctors may one day use the protein to predict more accurately which men will one day get cancer.

It’s too early for men to seek testing for the protein, called IGF-1, Pollak said, but he has begun animal studies to test whether drugs that lower its level could prevent men from getting the disease.

The study, published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, also raised a red flag for men who take growth hormone to fight the effects of aging: That still-experimental trend, hyped on the Internet, may raise their risk of prostate cancer because growth hormone raises IGF-1 levels.

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