For the first time, researchers at Umeå University and Lund University have estimated the risk of developing various types of prostate cancer for men with the disease in the family. Men with brothers who have had prostate cancer run twice as high a risk of being diagnosed themselves in comparison to the general population. This according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"It's well known that men with prostate cancer in the family have a higher risk of the disease," says Pär Stattin, researcher at the Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences and principal investigator of Prostate Cancer data Base Sweden (PCBaSe), which was the basis for the study.
"Prostate cancer is often a rather indolent disease with favourable prognosis that often doesn't require treatment but there are also aggressive types that can be mortal. The ability to differ between these types is therefore important. Up until now, there has been no knowledge about the absolute magnitudes of these risks."
In PCBaSe, Swedish researchers in Umeå and Lund have studied the prostate cancer risk in over 50,000 men in Sweden whose brothers and fathers had prostate cancer. The results show:
- Men with one brother with prostate cancer had:
- a 30% risk of being diagnosed themselves before the age of 75, compared with 13% among other men without family history of the disease.
- a 9% risk of an aggressive form compared with 5% among other men.
- Men with both a father and a brother with prostate cancer had a threefold risk of prostate cancer themselves: a 48% risk of any form of prostate cancer (compared with 13% among other men) and 14% for aggressive cancer (compared with 5% among other men).
- The risk of an aggressive prostate cancer was typically as high in those whose brothers or fathers had the mildest form as those who had an aggressive prostate cancer in the family.
"We had expected that the risk of aggressive prostate cancer would be particularly lower in men with favourable cancer in the family, but that wasn't the case. Men whose fathers or brothers had a favourable prostate cancer don't usually think that increases their own risk of developing aggressive cancer. They might not even know that they have prostate cancer in the family," says Ola Bratt, first author of the study and researcher at Lund University.
The National Guidelines for prostate cancer states that men with two or more close relatives with prostate cancer should be recommended for prostate screenings starting at between 40 to 50 years of age. The check-ups involve regular PSA testing and potentially also examinations of the prostate gland.
About the publication: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, article: Family History and Probability of Prostate Cancer, Differentiated by Risk Category - a Nationwide Population-based Study. Authors: Ola Bratt, Linda Drevin, Olof Akre, Hans Garmo and Pär Stattin. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djw110
For more information, please contact:
Pär Stattin, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Umeå University
Phone: +46 73-620 52 51