Australian researchers say the same gene that puts women at a high risk for breast cancer also may give men a heightened risk for prostate cancer.

Men from families where the women have high rates of breast cancer are about four times more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to research funded by Australia's National Breast Cancer Foundation and conducted by kConFab, an Australian and New Zealand consortium for research into familial breast cancer.

The consortium investigated families with multiple cases of breast and ovarian cancer for 10 years and noticed that prostate cancer was also common in some of the families.

The families with multiple breast and prostate cancer cases all carried the BRCA2 gene, which has been shown to put women at an increased risk for breast cancer.

Researchers now believe the BRCA2 gene, as well as the other gene that has been linked to breast cancer, the BRCA1 gene, may put men at an increased risk for prostate cancer. The study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

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