Blood type influences recurrence of prostate cancer

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Researchers at Tokyo Medical University have stated that prostate cancer is less like to reoccur in patients with blood type O, than in those with blood type A.

European men most commonly suffer from prostate cancer and in Britain 40,000 cases are diagnosed on an annual basis.

The author of the study done at Tokyo Medical University, Dr Yoshio Ohno, has stated that this is the first time that it has been shown that the recurrence of prostate cancer may vary with the man’s blood group.

He said that they are not aware why this is so, but the results of the study may guide them towards new roads of molecular research on the progression of prostate cancer. He wondered if they should be counselling persons who fall into certain blood groups and let them know that they are at greater risk of recurrence of the cancer. He was also concerned about whether the risk factors should be considered when treatment decisions are made.

This new research was presented at the European Association of Urology’s (EAU) annual congress which was held in Stockholm last week. It involved tracking 555 patients suffering from prostate cancer during 2004 and 2010.

The determination of a person’s blood group is done by the presence of various antibodies and antigens. These serve as the defences in the blood against foreign substances.

The most common blood group in the UK is O, which applies to around 44% of the entire population. Approximately 42% of British fall into blood group A.

Different blood groups have previously been linked to different cancer development risk levels.

The General Secretary of the EAU, Professor Per-Anders Abrahamsson, said that this first finding is extremely interesting as the huge geographical variation in the occurrence of prostate cancer shows that strong genetic factors have an effect.

He said that blood groups have previously been associated to the incidence of prostate cancer and it now appears to also be linked to the outcome of treatments.

Image credit: West Midlands Police

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