A new study recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that men who have inherited the BRCA2 gene, known widely as the “breast cancer” gene, are more likely to have the most aggressive and often fatal form of prostate cancer. The study concludes that in addition to men with the BRCA2 gene being more likely to get prostate cancer, it also causes prostate cancer to spread rapidly, prompting doctors to take a fresh look at how these men are being treated at the onset. Researchers say that men with this gene should be treated for the disease quickly instead of taking the watch and wait approach.
“We continue to try to find ways to define a patient's risk when they have been diagnosed with prostate cancer,” says Benjamin Lowentritt, MD, Director of the Prostate Cancer Program at Chesapeake Urology Associates. “We know many cancers may not be as aggressive as others, but distinguishing between these groups is difficult. New understanding of the genetic links to aggressive cancers, such as this association with the BRCA2 gene, may help us to better counsel our patients in the future.”
The study is a breakthrough in the way prostate cancer may be treated in men identified to have the BRCA2 gene, which is linked to hereditary breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. It is estimated that one in 100 men with prostate cancer also carry the faulty gene.
To find out more about the BRCA2 gene and prostate cancer, talk to your Chesapeake Urology physician.