Prostate Cancer Risk Predictable Through Family History and Genes - European Medical Journal

Prostate Cancer Risk Predictable Through Family History and Genes

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RESEARCHERS from the University of Cambridge, UK, and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, have developed CanRisk-Prostate, which will be incorporated into CanRisk, a tool that has already recorded almost 1.2 million risk predictions.

Over 52,000 males are diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa) every year, making it the most common type of cancer in males, with more than 12,000 deaths. While 78% of males will survive for over 10 years, this number has hardly changed in the UK over the last decade. Currently, testing for PCa involves a blood test for a prostate-specific antigen; however, these tests often result in false positives and three in four males will not have PCa. Therefore, tissue biopsies and MRI scans are required.

With the support of Cancer Research UK, the researchers developed the first comprehensive PCa model using genetic and cancer family history from nearly 17,000 families with a record of PCa. To predict future risks for PCa, CanRisk-Prostate uses data on rare genetic faults in moderate-to-high-risk genes and a risk score based on 268 common low-risk variants, along with a detailed cancer family history.

During development, the researchers discovered that 16% of males will develop PCa by the age of 85, with a higher risk if their father was diagnosed with PCa. The risk was considerably higher in males with genetic faults such as those who carry an alteration in the BRAC2 gene, with of those 52% with this fault developing PCa.

To validate their model, the researchers used data from 170,000 males recruited to the UK Biobank. The cohort were free from PCa at the start of the study, but 7,600 developed PCa in the subsequent 10 years. Of those who developed PCa, 86% had the highest predicted risks, suggesting that it could be possible to target screening and diagnostic tests.

Tommy Nyberg, Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit (BSU), University of Cambridge, said: “Over the next 12 months, we aim to build this tool into the widely used CanRisk tool, which will facilitate the risk-based clinical management of males seen in family cancer clinics and enable risk-adapted early detection approaches to the population at large.”

Currently, the data collected has only been from males with a European ancestry; however, the researchers want to include males from other ancestries if further research is undertaken.

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