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Five different genetic types of prostate cancer identified

Five different genetic types of prostate cancer identified - A study has identified five genetically-different types of prostate cancer with major implications for the way the disease is treated.

The "five ways" discovery was completed by scientists who examined samples of healthy and cancerous tissue from more than 250 men.

Tumours were grouped into five distinct categories based on the activity of 100 different genes. The study showed that each had a characteristic genetic fingerprint.

Lead researcher Dr Alastair Lamb, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said, "Our exciting results show that prostate cancer can be classified into five genetically-different types. These findings could help doctors decide on the best course of treatment for each individual patient, based on the characteristics of their tumour."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with around 41,700 cases identified every year. There are about 10,800 deaths from the disease each year in the UK.

Professor Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research UK's prostate cancer expert, said, "The challenge in treating prostate cancer is that it can either behave like a pussycat ? growing slowly and unlikely to cause problems in a man's lifetime - or a tiger, spreading aggressively and requiring urgent treatment. But at the moment we have no reliable way to distinguish them."

"Ultimately this could mean more effective treatment for the men who need it, helping to save more lives and improve the quality of life for many thousands of men with prostate cancer."

The research is featured in the online journal EBioMedicine.