New Genetic Risk Score Stratifies Lifetime Risk of Dying of Prostate Cancer in Diverse Populations

ASCO Perspective
Reno, Nevada ( -- “Current prostate cancer screening recommendations rely on family history as well as race and ethnicity, factors which often don’t fully capture a person’s risk of developing or dying from prostate cancer. This new study suggests that an extensive genetic risk score could be an effective tool to guide screening decisions by identifying people at high or low risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer. Importantly, this tool been validated in a diverse population,” said Robert Dreicer, MD, MS, MACP, FASCO, ASCO Expert in genitourinary cancers.

A scoring algorithm that incorporated 290 genetic variants for prostate cancer (PHS290) accurately identified people with high or low lifetime risks of developing metastatic prostate cancer or dying from the disease. Based on the risk scores, people with an African ancestry had the highest risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer and dying of the disease. The study will be presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, taking place February 17-19, 2022, in San Francisco, California.

Study at a Glance

Current screening for prostate cancer often includes a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, but there is uncertainty about the precision of the test and its utility in accurately predicting risk of developing aggressive forms of the disease. Researchers have been trying to develop more accurate tests for decades as prostate cancer remains a deadly disease. An estimated 34,500 men will die of the disease in the United States in 2022; in recent years, the risk of dying from prostate cancer, which had been steadily declining, has slowed, decreasing by less than one percent per year.1

“While most prior genetic studies have focused on men of European ancestry, our scoring algorithm is a measure of risk of dying of prostate cancer in a diverse population of military veterans,” said lead study author Meghana Pagadala, VA Health Care System, La Jolla, California, and an MD/PhD candidate at the University of California, San Diego. “Even accounting for family history and ancestry, the scoring algorithm provided powerful additional information about a man’s risk of death due to prostate cancer.”
Because prostate cancer is one of the most heritable cancers, variations in a person’s genetic makeup may contribute greatly to their risk for disease. The algorithm incorporates 290 previously identified gene variants associated with prostate cancer risk. Presence or absence of each variant and the patients’ ages were applied to the algorithm to generate an optimal model for association with age at prostate cancer diagnosis.


  1. Cancer Facts and Figures, 2022:

Source: "New Genetic Risk Score Stratifies Lifetime Risk Of Dying Of Prostate Cancer In Diverse Populations". 2022. ASCO.