Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men at the age of 40 and is of high prevalence in India.
Dr Kathy Tucker of the Prince of Wales Hospital and Dr Jenny Donald of Macquarie University in Sydney, have located a gene which increases men's risk of testicular cancer and state that it is inherited from their mothers.
The newly located gene, called TGCT1, was located in a particular section of the X chromosome called Xq27. It is inherited by the patient's mother, who in turn inherits it from either her mother or father.
Researchers found that men who carry the gene are more susceptible to testicular germ cell tumours (TGCT) which make up 95 per cent of all testicular cancer cases.
The team, which also includes researchers from Norway, Germany, Ireland and Canada, studied a total of 134 families with two or more cases of testicular cancer. Out of these families, 87 included two siblings who both had testicular cancer.
Researchers say isolating these genes will make it possible to distinguish men at high risk of the disease, who can then be screened. They say this should allow the disease to be detected earlier, and be treated successfully with less aggressive chemotherapy.
The researchers also found that TGCT1 is more likely to be involved in families in which a man had an undescended testicle - which is already known to be one of the risk factors for TGCT. They further discovered that families of men who had cancer in both testicles were even more likely to have TGCT1.
The discovery will also lead to a greater understanding of the biology and genetics of testicular cancer which could help in the treatment of other cancers.