BRCA and Prostate Cancer


Anchor lead: A mutation known to increase cancer risk in women is also important in some men, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Gene mutations known as BRCA may dramatically increase a woman’s risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and now a study shows that for some men with advanced prostate cancer, these same mutations may be the culprit. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says this knowledge has at least two implications. 

Nelson: It’s become evident that men who have prostate cancer that has spread throughout the body, has been treated with attempts to choke off supply of the male hormone to those cancers, the prevalence of BRCA gene defects is remarkably high. Those men can be treated substantially differently than those men that don’t have that gene defect. Family members of this person who had prostate cancer, who carries a BRCA gene, they have the same kind of risks, if they are women, that women who carry these genes have, because they carry that gene. And so there’s some thought about so-called cascade testing, who else should be tested.  :34

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.