When the enzyme in cell energy metabolism undergoes gene variations, the risk of developing prostate cancer is increased, claims a new study.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that the genetic variations impair the enzyme phosphodiesterase 11A (PDE11A), which helps regulate cell's responses to hormones and other signals.
Previous studies by NIH researchers have linked genetic variations that inactivate PDE11A with increased susceptibility to testicular cancer and adrenal tumours.
The researchers found that a group of men with prostate cancer were nearly four times more likely to have variations affecting the activity of PDE11A than did men who did not have prostate cancer.
"Our study indicates that PDE11A one day may have a place in genetic screening for predisposition to prostate cancer," said senior author of the study, Constantine Stratakis.
The researchers examined tissue from 50 men with prostate cancer and 287 men who did not have prostate cancer.
The researchers analysed the DNA of the men and found 8 variations in the PDE11A gene that decreased the production or activity of PDE11A.
If the men with prostate cancer, 30 percent had one or more of these variations, compared with 10 percent of the men who did not have prostate cancer.
Of the variations the researchers detected, 5 had been detected in previous studies and 3 were previously unknown.
The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.