The Edinburgh University research team, funded by Prostate Cancer UK and the Medical Research Council, have identified a gene that may be instrumental to the growth of the prostate gland and tumours.
The researchers made the discovery of the key role played by the Decorin gene by closely studying genes that control the prostate gland, and it is hoped the find could lead to improvements in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Lead researcher Dr Axel Thomson, said: “Decorin’s normal role may be to slow cancer growth, which is a really exciting possibility.
“If our suspicions are verified then this could mean that, in the future, measurement of Decorin levels could become a reliable diagnostic test for prostate cancer and also help determine how aggressive the disease is.”
The finding comes as part of an ongoing body of Prostate Cancer UK-funded research exploring how the environment surrounding cancer cells affects tumour growth.