Scientists have identified a gene that could be instrumental in the growth of prostate tumours.
The discovery could lead to improved cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh.
They looked at genes which control how the prostate gland is formed and found that one gene, called decorin, may have a key role in tumour growth.
Dr Kate Holmes, head of research at charity Prostate Cancer UK which helped fund the research, said: "This type of early-stage research is vital to help us improve our understanding of prostate cancer development and move towards finding better ways to diagnose and treat the disease.
"Every year 10,000 men lose their lives to the disease, yet we still have very little knowledge of how prostate tumours develop and grow. It is vital that more research of this nature is undertaken and supported so that more clues, such as these, can be discovered."
The research is published in scientific journal Plos One.