Prostate cancer risk is elevated for men with Lynch syndrome

grandfather_father_sonProstate cancer is a relatively common cancer, with the American Cancer society reporting that 238,590 Americans will be diagnosed this year. A recent study by researchers at the University Of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, has linked an increase in risk for prostate cancer to a genetic predisposition to develop cancer called Lynch syndrome.

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that causes an increase in risk to develop primarily colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer. It is also associated with an increase in risk for gastric, ovarian, urinary tract, pancreatic and brain tumors. Approximately 1 in every 440 people have Lynch syndrome.

The research team looked at 198 families with a strong history of cancer, involving 4,127 men, from the University of Michigan and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Using statistical analysis it was reported that men who had Lynch syndrome have a lifetime risk to develop prostate cancer as high as 30%. The general population risk is 18%.

Recent guidelines have recommended against prostate cancer screening in young men who do not have symptoms, however this recent study suggests that men with Lynch syndrome might benefit from continuing to have regular prostate cancer screening.

People who are concerned about their families’ history of prostate and other cancer may benefit from meeting with a genetic counselor to talk about cancer risk, possible genetic testing, screening options or research involvement.  Families who find that they are at a higher risk for prostate cancer and other cancers can benefit from increased screening and prevention options.

Some clues to inherited risk within a family include:

  • Cancer diagnosed at earlier ages than typically expected
  • Families with multiple individuals with prostate cancer
  • Other cancers in family members including:
    • Breast cancer
    • Ovarian or uterine cancer
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Colorectal cancer

Reference: Journal of Clinical Oncology, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.44.1238, published online March 25, 2013

Get more information:

Pub Med: Hereditary prostate cancer as a feature of Lynch syndrome

Pub Med: Elevated risk of prostate cancer among men with lynch syndrome


grandfather_father_sonThe University of Michigan Cancer Genetics Clinic provides counseling for people with a personal or family history of cancers that may have genetic links. If a link is confirmed, our specialized physician and genetic counselors will develop a plan for additional screening or lifestyle changes to help reduce cancer risk.


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