The Fertility Show, London, 1-3 November 2019
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_145100

Prostate cancer risk doubles for men with BRCA2 mutation

23 September 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1016

A gene mutation previously associated with breast and ovarian cancer has been found to double the risk of prostate cancer among men.

A large-scale study, published in European Urology, found that men with a BRCA2 gene mutation not only have a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer but also tend to develop the disease earlier with more aggressive tumours. The researchers are now calling for Europe-wide annual screening for all men over 40 carrying the BRCA2 gene mutation.

'For women who undergo genetic testing, options are available to them if they carry a BRCA fault, including preventative surgery and increased screening,' said study leader Professor Rosalind Eeles from the Institute of Cancer Research in London. 'But there's no prevention pathway in place if men decide to find out if they're a carrier, which is why our research is so important,' she added.

The three-year 'IMPACT' study looked at around 1400 men from across 65 centres in 20 different countries. The researchers compared the efficiency of yearly PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing to detect prostate cancer in those that have the BRCA2 mutation and those that do not. The researchers found that men carrying the BRCA2 mutation were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to those without. Carriers were also diagnosed at a younger age (61 compared to 64 in non-carriers) and 77 percent had more aggressive tumours compared with 40 percent of non-carriers, suggesting that men with a BRCA2 mutation could benefit from regular PSA testing. 

'Understanding more about people at higher risk of prostate cancer is an incredibly important area of research,' said Professor Charles Swanton, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, which funded the study. 'Previous studies have shown that PSA is not a suitable test for screening for prostate cancer in the general population. But we still need to understand whether PSA testing would reduce deaths from the disease in any high-risk groups before we make any recommendation.'

The BRCA2 mutation – carried by around one in 300 white men – is also associated with a 50 to 80 percent risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in women.

Sarah Coghlan, of the Movember men's health charity, told the Daily Mail: 'Men need to be aware that having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, could mean they are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. They need to be asking questions about their own family history and share their own more comprehensively with immediate family members.'
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
30 September 2019 - by Jennifer Frosch 
Men who have had fertility treatment to assist conception in the past have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, a Swedish cohort study has reported...
15 July 2019 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Women who have fewer protective bacteria in the vagina may be at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to new research...
24 June 2019 - by Georgia Everett 
A large international study has identified the cancer risk associated with hundreds of mutations in BRCA genes. The findings will help improve accuracy when interpreting genetic test information on BRCA genes...
13 May 2019 - by Charlott Repschlager 
A mutation that raises a prostate cancer patient's risk of death by threefold has been discovered...
28 January 2019 - by Martha Henriques 
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a direct-to-consumer genetic test for a hereditary form of colorectal cancer by 23andMe...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.