INTRODUCTION: The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) era and resultant early detection of prostate cancer has presented clinicians with the challenge of distinguishing indolent from aggressive tumours.
Mutations in the BRCA1/2 genes have been associated with prostate cancer risk and prognosis. We describe the prostate cancer screening characteristics of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, who may be classified as genetically-defined high risk, as compared to another high-risk cohort of men with a family history of prostate cancer to evaluate the utility of a targeted screening approach for these men.
METHODS: We reviewed patient demographics, clinical screening characteristics, pathological features, and treatment outcomes between a group of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers and age-matched men with a family history of prostate cancer followed at our institutional Prostate Cancer Prevention Clinic from 1995 to 2012.
RESULTS: Screening characteristics were similar between the mutation carriers (n = 53) and the family history group (n = 53). Some cancers would be missed in both groups by using a PSA cut-off of >4 ug/L. While cancer detection was higher in the family history group (21% vs. 15%), the mutation carrier group was more likely to have intermediate- or high-risk disease (88% vs. 36%). BRCA2 mutation carriers were more likely to have aggressive disease, biological recurrence, and distant metastasis.
CONCLUSIONS: In our cohort, regular screening appears justified for detecting prostate cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers and other high-risk populations. Lowering PSA cut-offs and defining monitoring of PSA velocity as part of the screening protocol may be useful. BRCA2 is associated with more aggressive disease, while the outcome for BRCA1 mutation carriers requires further study. Large multinational studies will be important to define screening techniques for this unique high-risk population.
Walker R, Louis A, Berlin A, Horsburgh S, Bristow RG, Trachtenberg J. Are you the author?
Department of Surgical Oncology, University Health Network, Toronto, ON; Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON.
Reference: Can Urol Assoc J. 2014 Nov;8(11-12):E783-8.