BRCA2 gene mutations and prostate cancer – role of prophylactic radical prostatectomy


The presence of BRCA gene mutations in a person increases the risk for developing cancer. This has received much publicity after movie star Angelina Jolie announced that she had a prophylactic mastectomy to avoid breast cancer.

Results from trials have shown that a man with a BRCA2 mutation has an 8.6-fold increased risk of developing prostate cancer, and with a BRCA1 mutation has a 3.4-fold increased risk. ICR researchers  recently reported that prostate cancer in men with the BRCA2 mutation is more aggressive and more likely to be fatal (J Clin Oncol2013;31:1748-1757).

A first man has undergone prophylactic radical prostatectomy to prevent prostate cancer, after finding that out that he carries the BRCA2 gene mutation. He underwent prostate biopsy which is the standard way of diagnosing prostate cancer before undergoing radical prostatectomy surgery to remove his prostate.

Currently, there is no adequate data to support a man with a normal prostate undergoing prophylactic radical prostatectomy because he carries the BRCA genes. However, initial research does suggest that men with BRCA genes may develop more aggressive cancer should they eventually have prostate cancer.

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