New prostate cancer risk score could help guide screening decisions

January 10, 2018, British Medical Journal
Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Credit: Wikipedia

A new score for predicting a man's genetic risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer could help guide decisions about who to screen and when, say researchers in The BMJ today.

Prostate is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in males in developed countries, with over a million new cases and over 300,000 associated deaths estimated worldwide in 2012.

Screening for or PSA (a cancer indicator) can lead to early detection and potentially life saving treatment. But many guidelines do not endorse universal screening due to concerns about elevated PSA in men without cancer and overtreatment for men who have cancer but might never develop .

Ideally, physicians would identify and screen patients at high risk of developing aggressive at a young age, but a practical clinically useful tool to predict age of onset is not yet available.

So researchers used data from an international study collaboration (the PRACTICAL consortium) to develop and test a genetic tool to predict age of onset of aggressive cancer and to guide decisions of who to screen and at what age.

They analysed over 200,000 gene variants (known as or SNPs) from 31,747 men of European ancestry with and without prostate cancer and identified 54 associated with increased risk of prostate cancer.

These polymorphisms were incorporated into a survival analysis to estimate their effects on age at diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer in the form of a hazard .

The final model was then applied to data from an independent clinical trial of 6,411 men to test ("validate") prediction of survival, free from prostate cancer.

In the independent validation, the hazard score was a highly significant predictor of age at diagnosis of aggressive cancer.

Men in the top 2% of the score had an almost three-fold greater relative risk for aggressive prostate cancer compared with men with average risk.

And the researchers say that, as the score is representative of a man's fixed , "it can be calculated once, long before onset of prostate cancer, and substantially inform the decision of whether he should undergo screening."

They point to some study limitations, and say they cannot rule out the possibility that other unmeasured factors may have influenced their results. Nevertheless, they say these results "add to existing data as further evidence that genetic features can predict risk of prostate cancer."

They add that the score "is a relatively inexpensive assessment of an individual man's age specific risk and provides objective information on whether a given patient might benefit from PSA screening."

Explore further: New early detection test for prostate cancer: Mi-Prostate Score test improves on PSA for predicting cancer

More information: Polygenic hazard score to guide screening for aggressive prostate cancer: development and validation in large scale cohorts, BMJ, www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.j5757

Related Stories

New early detection test for prostate cancer: Mi-Prostate Score test improves on PSA for predicting cancer

September 26, 2013
More than 1 million men will undergo a prostate biopsy this year, but only about one-fifth of those biopsies will result in a cancer diagnosis.

New findings concerning hereditary prostate cancer

July 11, 2016
It is a well-known fact that men with a family history of prostate cancer run an increased risk of developing the disease. The risk for brothers of men with prostate cancer is doubled. But a doubled risk of what, exactly? ...

Body size and prostate cancer risk

July 14, 2017
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Europe and the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in men worldwide.

What men should know about new prostate cancer screening guidelines

April 17, 2017
Men ages 55 to 69 should talk with their health care provider about prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer. That's according to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Scientists report genetic test to help predict men at most risk from aggressive prostate cancer

March 28, 2017
Scientists are reporting a test which can predict which patients are most at risk from aggressive prostate cancer, and whether they suffer an increased chance of treatment failure. This test, reported at the European Association ...

Prostate cancer tied to higher colorectal cancer risk

March 1, 2016
(HealthDay)—The risk of colorectal cancer is increased after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in Cancer.

Recommended for you

High fruit and vegetable consumption may reduce risk of breast cancer, especially aggressive tumors

July 19, 2018
Women who eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables each day may have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially of aggressive tumors, than those who eat fewer fruits and vegetables, according to a new study led by researchers ...

Complementary medicine for cancer can decrease survival

July 19, 2018
People who received complementary therapy for curable cancers were more likely to refuse at least one component of their conventional cancer treatment, and were more likely to die as a result, according to researchers from ...

Overcoming resistance to a standard chemotherapy drug

July 19, 2018
Despite being studied for decades, the chemotherapy drug cisplatin is revealing new aspects of how it works. Researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have identified an enzyme responsible for making tumors ...

Study finds melanoma biomarkers predicting checkpoint blocker response

July 18, 2018
Scientists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) have identified biomarkers in melanoma that could help tailor immunotherapy treatments to maximize the benefits for patients while reducing the likelihood ...

Link found between bitter-taste sensitivity and cancer risk

July 18, 2018
High bitter-taste sensitivity is associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer in older British women, according to researchers who conducted a unique study of 5,500 women whose diet, lifestyle and health has been ...

Scientists discover a mechanism of drug resistance in breast and ovarian cancer

July 18, 2018
There is a highly sophisticated way to treat some breast and ovarian cancers—a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, designed to exploit the very defects that make tumors with certain mutations especially deadly. Yet this ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.