Genetics of CaP and CaP Control Study

Men with or without a family history of prostate cancer are invited to participate in this genetics study.

Men can enroll from any location in the US or the world. Forms and a blood kit will be sent at no cost to participants.

It is not necessary to come to Chicago to participate in this study.

The purpose of this study is:

The study enrolls men with a family history of prostate cancer and men with other possible genetic predispositions, including a relative with breast cancer.

Researchers compile resulting genetic transcripts into a database that may help identify the genes responsible for prostate cancer. William J. Catalona, MD is the director of the center.

Also, the program enrolls men who do not have prostate cancer to compare them to men who do have prostate cancer.

Participation helps the researchers better understand the nature of prostate cancer. Individual results are not shared with participants until it is established that the participants or their family members could benefit from knowing the results.

A blood kit will be sent at no cost to participants but PSA test results are not part of this study. Participants will not receive PSA results and should not consider participation in this study a substitute for annual PSA testing.


These studies at Northwestern Memorial Hospital under the direction of Dr. William J. Catalona are to help researchers zero in on genes that may lead to new screening tests and eventually new strategies to prevent and treat one of the top two cancer killers in men.

"We believe prostate cancer is the most hereditary of all cancers. If we can find out which genes are involved in the development of prostate cancer and then figure out what goes wrong when they are mutated, we can direct our attention to the prevention and possible cure of prostate cancer," says William J. Catalona, M.D., director of Northwestern Memorial’s Familial Prostate Cancer Screening Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and professor of urology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Unlike the successful mapping of BRCA1 and BRCA2, which explain a substantial proportion of hereditary breast cancers, genes conferring susceptibility to prostate cancer have been more elusive. "We’re about ten years behind breast cancer. So far, researchers have identified about 40-50 candidate regions of the human genome that need further investigation. I think eventually we’ll end up with about a dozen different genes that, when mutated, can be implicated for prostate cancer susceptibility and/or aggressiveness," says Dr. Catalona. "The answers will eventually be found by hitting a bunch of singles, rather than one home run."

The program will enroll men with a family history of prostate cancer and men with other possible genetic predispositions, including a relative with breast cancer, and provide them with state-of-the-art clinical testing. Researchers will then compile resulting genetic transcripts into a database that may help them identify the genes responsible for prostate cancer.

About Dr. Catalona

Dr. Catalona is one of the country’s foremost experts on prostate cancer. He is a household name among urologists and is known for having been the first to show that a simple blood test that measures levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the most accurate method for detecting prostate cancer. He also helped develop the "free" PSA test as a means of improving the accuracy of prostate cancer screening. In previous research, Dr. Catalona established and directed the largest single-institution prostate cancer-screening program in the United States, including 36,000 men in the St. Louis area. He also led national studies that gained approval of the PSA and free PSA blood tests by the US Food and Drug Administration.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is one of the country’s premier academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern Memorial and its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry have 744 beds and more than 1,200 affiliated physicians and 5,000 employees. Providing state-of-the-art care, NMH is recognized for its outstanding clinical and surgical advancements in such areas as cardiothoracic and vascular care, gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, organ and bone marrow transplantation, and women’s health.

Northwestern’s program, under the direction of Dr. Catalona, will be one of four sites participating in the recent FDA approval of Beckman Coulter Incorporated’s plan to conduct a pivotal study to test whether the pro-PSA test is safe and effective at improving the accuracy of PSA testing.

PSA has many forms, including Pro-PSA, which may be a better marker than free or complexed PSA for distinguishing between PSA elevations due to prostate cancer and those due to benign conditions of the prostate.

In addition, a state-of-the-art color Doppler ultrasound machine will be used for prostate imaging and biopsy. Recent evidence suggests that this may be more accurate in the detection of prostate cancer than the black and white ultrasounds currently in use at most facilities. “The color Doppler illustrates in red where there is increased blood flow, and areas where there are a lot of blood vessels are more likely to be sites for cancer,” Dr. Catalona said

Northwestern Memorial was ranked as the nation’s 5th best hospital by the 2002 Consumer Checkbook survey of the nation’s physicians and is listed in the majority of specialties in this year’s US News & World Report’s issue of “America’s Best Hospitals.” NMH is also cited as one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” by Working Mother magazine and has been chosen by Chicagoans year after year as their “most preferred hospital” in National Research Corporation’s annual survey.

“ Prostate Cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men. Early detection is essential to cure this disease,” said Steven T. Rosen, M.D., director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University and professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The launch of this program means that men at high risk for prostate cancer have access to a sophisticated approach incorporating state of the art diagnostics and innovative research, which are essential to making progress in finding a cure for prostate cancer.”

“ The genetics revolution will change the way prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated,” says Dr. Catalona. "We don't have practical applications for prostate cancer yet, but we're so very close."

One in six American men is at lifetime risk of prostate cancer. Heredity may be responsible for as many as a third of the cases of prostate cancer diagnosed before the age of 60 and up to one-half of cases of men diagnosed before age 55.

For more information about Dr. Catalona’s prostate cancer research studies or to make an appointment at Northwestern’s Familial Prostate Cancer Screening Program, please call or contact:

Research Coordinator

Familial Prostate Cancer Research and Screening Clinic

Phone: 312 695-4426 or 312 695-0195


Close this window