9 January 2015
A team at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), Salt Lake City, have found that looking at a more complete family history can help better determine a patient's risk of developing prostate cancer.
The researchers state that family history is a "substantial risk factor" for the disease, and by looking at second and third-degree relatives such as uncles and great-grandparents it could be easier to identify high-risk patients.
Lisa Cannon-Albright, University of Utah professor of genetic epidemiology and an HCI investigator, said current analysis only looks at first-degree relatives.
Along with her team, Dr Cannon-Albright looked at data from the Utah Population Database, which gathers genealogic and medical information from more than 7.3 million individuals. By using these details, they were able to determine the individual risk of each man with a history of prostate cancer.
To condense their findings for clinical use, the team identified combinations of risk factors, such as age of diagnosis and degree of cancer, that conferred greater than two-fold and three-fold risk.
Published in the journal Prostate, the study suggests that further research is needed in this area.
Robert A Stephenson, professor of urologic oncology at the university, said: "Knowing prostate cancer risk estimates associated with a man's detailed family history can help pinpoint the men who will benefit from targeted screening."
Posted by Edward Bartel
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