A Man’s Genes Can Hurt His Cancer Outlook

Prostate cancer and Lynch syndrome appear to be linked

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Lynch syndrome is the most common genetic condition that’s linked to cancer.  While it is fairly rare, the condition can raise the risk for various cancers. But the connection between Lynch syndrome and prostate cancer has been uncertain.

In a recent study, researchers found that men who had Lynch syndrome had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer than men without the condition. 

Men with the genetic mutation also were at greater risk of developing the cancer earlier in life.

"Tell a doctor about your family’s history of cancer."

Lead author Victoria M. Raymond, MS, of the University of Michigan, and fellow researchers looked for an association between Lynch syndrome and prostate cancer.  

It’s well known that people with Lynch syndrome have an 80 percent risk of developing colorectal cancer at some point in their lives. The hereditary genetic condition also increases the likelihood of brain, endometrial, gastric, ovarian, pancreatic and urinary tract (bladder and kidneys) cancers.

Lynch syndrome is one of the most common genetic mutations linked to cancer. About one in 440 individuals have the condition.

Previous studies have suggested that Lynch syndrome may be associated with inherited prostate cancer, but the results have been controversial.

Researchers combed the family registries at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center or at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and identified 4,127 men with Lynch syndrome.

A total of 97 men from this group were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The median age at diagnosis was 65 years. More than 11 percent of the men who developed the disease were diagnosed before the age of 50.

The study found that men with Lynch syndrome had a 30 percent lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer compared to an 18 percent risk among the general population.

Men between the ages of 20 and 59 with the mutation also had a higher risk than men without Lynch syndrome.

Given these findings, men with Lynch syndrome may benefit from regular prostate cancer screenings, according to Raymond, a certified genetic counselor with the University of Michigan's Cancer Genetics Clinic.

E. David Crawford, MD, professor of surgery, urology, and radiation oncology, and head of the Section of Urologic Oncology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, told dailyRx News, “The authors add another risk factor for prostate cancer, Lynch syndrome. Though rare, clinicians should remember to assess men with the syndrome for prostate cancer.”

“Additional studies to quantify the potential risks, benefits, and cost effectiveness of this screening will offer guidance about optimal strategies to manage prostate cancer risk in patients with LS,” the authors concluded.

This study was published March 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Grants from the National Cancer Institute supported this research. Two of the authors have financial relationships with Myriad Genetics, Sapna Syngal, Archimedes, Quest Diagnostics.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 1, 2013
Last Updated:
April 3, 2013