Recent Research on the Link Between Breast and Prostate Cancers

Categories: Summer/Fall 2020
©Dan Oldfield
Finding how different things work together and are connected is a crucial piece for scientific research.

Family History of Breast Cancer is a Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer

An analysis of 18 studies involving more than 17 million people found that a history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives was associated with an 18% increased risk of prostate cancer. Men with a family history of breast cancer in mothers only had a 19% increased risk of developing prostate cancer; for men with affected sisters only, the increased risk was 71%. A history of breast cancer in daughters only was not associated with prostate cancer incidence.

The authors concluded that a family history of breast cancer may help guide screenings, earlier detection, and treatment for men.

BMC Cancer. 2019 Sep 2;19(1):871. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-6055-9.

BRCA1 AND BRCA2 Mutations Carriers

Mutations in the so-called “breast cancer genes,” BRCA1 and BRCA2, are associated with prostate cancer in men, although a wide range of risk estimates have been reported based on retrospective studies, which looks at men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

A prospective cohort study followed 376 men with BRCA1 mutations and 447 men with BRCA2 mutations who had not been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers followed the men for a median of five to six years, approximately. Sixteen of the men with BRCA1 mutations were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 26 of the men with BRCA2 mutations were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The analysis found that men with BRCA2 mutations have a high risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly more aggressive prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7 or greater, as well as a higher risk of death from the disease. This risk of developing prostate cancer increased for men with a family history of prostate cancer as well as location of the mutation within the gene.

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