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Hazard score predicts risk for onset of prostate cancer

Scientists have developed a hazard score to predict genetic risk of the onset of aggressive prostate cancer that could help decide who and when to screen, and contribute to successful treatment

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Scientists have developed a hazard score to predict the onset of aggressive prostate cancer.

The hope is that it will be used to decide who and when to screen and contribute to successful treatment.

Many guidelines do not endorse universal screening due to concerns over elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in men without cancer and over-treatment of men who have cancer without it becoming aggressive.

The researchers, led by scientists at the University of California, used data from a multinational consortium investigating prostate cancer, called Practical, to develop and test the genetic tool to predict age of onset of aggressive prostate cancer.

After analysing over 200,000 gene variants from 31,747 men of European ancestry with and without prostate cancer, the researchers identified 54 associated variants with higher risk.

Fixed genetic risk

A hazard score was then developed and applied to data from an independent clinical trial of 6,411 men to validate prediction.

Men scoring in the top 2% had an almost three-fold greater risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared with the average score.

The researchers said the score was representative of a man’s fixed genetic risk and could be calculated at any time.

‘It is a relatively inexpensive assessment of an individual man’s age-specific risk and provides objective information on whether a given patient might benefit from PSA screening,’ they said.

Seibert T et al (2017) Polygenic hazard score to guide screening for aggressive prostate cancer: development and validation in large scale cohorts. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.j5757


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