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expert reaction to study on PSA screening in men with BRCA2 mutation

A study, published in European Urology, reports on a possible connection between those with the BRCA2 mutation and risk of prostate cancer.  


Prof Shirley Hodgson, Professor of Cancer Genetics, St George’s, University of London (SGUL), said:

“It is important that these researchers have confirmed a significant risk of prostate cancer in men who carry BRCA2 mutations, especially at younger ages, and that PSA screening is an important screening modality for them. This research is well conducted on a large cohort of men with BRCA2 mutations and a control population and is a reliable study. The important point here is that because there is a significantly increased prior risk of prostate cancer in men who carry such mutations, the predictive value of a positive screening test result is increased, making the test more specific than when it is done in the general population where the prior risk of the disease is lower. Clearly PSA elevation can help to diagnose prostate cancer in men at increased risk, with the likely outcome of improved survival, but a longer follow-up time will be necessary to show this definitively. The press release has reflected the scientific content and impact of this study appropriately.


Prof James Green, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust said:

“This is a very welcome study as many people would like to see if screening is more useful in a subgroup of the population who are at a higher risk of cancer. Whilst some screening methods might be impractical in the overall population, they might be acceptable in people with genetic markers that predispose them to cancer or in those with a strong family of history of a specific cancer. Obviously, it is important to see if the higher diagnosis rate found in this well-designed study, at a younger age, leads to more people being cured, but hopefully it will.”


‘Interim results from the IMPACT study: evidence for PSA screening in BRCA2 mutation carriers’ by Elizabeth Page et al. was published in European Urology at 00:01 UK time on Tuesday 17th September. 


Declared interests

Prof Shirley Hodgson: I have no conflicts of interest.

Prof James Green: No conflicts

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