After presenting the results of a new study, researchers have called for immediate action to recommend screening for prostate cancer for men with BRCA2 mutations over the age of 40.
It is widely known that BRCA mutations greatly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women with the disease. However they also increase the risk of several types of cancer in men, including prostate and breast.
Scientists have also determined that BRCA2 mutations are likely to increase the chance of a type of childhood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The sturdy research looked at almost 3,000 men aged 40-69, with just over half carrying inherited mutations in either BRCA1 or BRCA2, while the others were healthy controls. These men were screened with a common test for prostate cancer called the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test.
The researchers found that the incidence of prostate cancer in men with BRCA2 mutations was significantly higher than in men with no BRCA mutations. They also determined that BRCA2 carriers were typically diagnosed when younger and had more substantial disease. However, there were no differences observed in men who carried BRCA1 mutations, compared to healthy controls.
The researchers feel that the study shows very clearly that men with the BRCA2 gene fault are at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and that regular PSA testing could go some way to improving early diagnosis and treatment.
The research indicates that men over the age of 40 who carry a mutation in the BRCA2 gene should undergo an annual PSA test as a way of identifying prostate cancer which in their case may be more aggressive.