Lipoprotein A and prostate cancer risk: genetic evidence
A recent study has shown a possible association between increased prostate cancer risk and genetic variations linked to greater blood levels of the cholesterol-transporting molecule lipoprotein A. These findings were published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Anna Loannidou of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues.
Some risk factors for prostate cancer, such as being older and of African heritage, cannot be changed. Meanwhile, other risk factors for the disease’s severe version, such as smoking and obesity, may be modifiable. Previous study reveals that greater lipid levels in the blood may potentially be linked to an increased risk. If this is the case, lipid-lowering medications might possibly lessen the risk of prostate cancer. However, the current data regarding links between blood lipids and prostate cancer is equivocal.
Loannidou and colleagues investigated the relationship between prostate cancer risk and multiple blood lipids, including lipoprotein A, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins A and B. They used data from two big research programmes, the UK Biobank and the PRACTICAL collaboration, to examine genetic and prostate cancer risk data from hundreds of thousands of people.
The study used a technique known as Mendelian randomization, which uses the inherent unpredictability of the genetic process of meiosis to increase the validity of an analysis. Instead of looking at direct measurements of lipids in the circulation, the researchers looked at differences in people’s DNA sequences that are linked to varying lipid levels in the blood. The researchers next determined if these genetic variations were statistically connected to prostate cancer risk.
The study found that genetic variations that predict greater lipoprotein A levels in the blood were linked to a higher overall risk of prostate cancer, as well as a higher chance of advanced or early-onset prostate cancer. The other blood lipids did not show any significant connections, according to the researchers.
These findings imply that lipoprotein A-lowering medicines might be produced or repurposed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in some people. More research is needed to validate the findings of this study and to understand the underlying molecular processes.
“Our study implies that persons with higher lipoprotein A blood levels, which is a protein that carries cholesterol in the blood, may have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer,” the scientists conclude.