Angier, Natalie. "Scientists Zero In on a Gene Linked to Prostate Cancer," New York Times, 22
November 1996, p. A26.
Here is yet another of the celebratory articles focusing on the accomplishments of molecular
biology and this time it is a supposed link between prostate cancer and genes. But the numbers in
this piece are interesting for, like the breast cancer gene discovered months ago, the frequency of
case is quite small. It is reported here that among all men, the risk of developing some sort of
prostae tumor by age 80 is 50 percent but, with this gene, the risk is 88 percent. Hasrdly THE
causal agent of prostate cancer.
"The inherited mutation probably accounts for no more than 3 percent of all cases of prostate
cancer, the researchers estimate." Now that is hardly a reason to celebrate - or is it? "An
understanding of the gene's behavior could have a wide impact on preventing the disease..." Note
the could have.
I note that 23 scientists are coauthors of the article in Science which hails this finding.