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Hereditary Prostate Cancer Information for Patients

In recent years, knowledge about hereditary prostate cancer and genetic testing has increased. While most prostate cancer is not hereditary, an estimated 12 percent of advanced prostate cancer is due to a hereditary cause.

Finding a hereditary explanation for why some men developed prostate cancer can help to:

  • Guide the course of cancer treatment or decision about surgery
  • Provide a reason why they or their relatives were diagnosed with cancer
  • Clarify the risks for other cancers

Genetic testing is one way to understand if a person has a hereditary risk for prostate cancer. If a person undergoes genetic testing and finds that he has hereditary prostate cancer, then it means he was born with an increased risk to develop prostate and possibly other cancers. Genetic testing for hereditary prostate cancer can look for several hereditary cancer syndromes.

In addition, results of genetic testing is important information to share with relatives because they may have also inherited the same increased risk to develop cancer. When a hereditary explanation is found in a family, relatives can then better understand their risk to develop cancer, which can help guide their decisions about cancer screening, prevention, and management.

Hereditary Cancer Syndrome and Gene(s) Lifetime Risk of Prostate Cancer Increased Risk for Other Cancers
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Genes: BRCA1, BRCA2
Up to 20%
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Melanoma
Gene: HOXB13
40-60% Unknown at this time
Genes: ATM, PALB2
Possibly increased, but not well defined
  • Female breast cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
Gene: CHEK2
Possibly increased, but not well defined
  • Female breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Possible risk for melanoma and male breast cancer
Gene: RAD51C, RAD51D, BRIP1
Possibly increased, but not well defined
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Possible elevated risk for
  • breast cancer, particularly triple negative-type
Lynch Syndrome
Genes: MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM
Possibly increased, but not well defined
  • Colon and other gastrointestinal cancers
  • Uterine and ovarian cancer
  • Urinary tract cancer
  • Sebaceous skin cancer
Li Fraumeni syndrome
Gene: TP53
Possibly increased, but not well defined
  • Lifetime risk for developing cancer is approximately 73% in men and 90% in women
  • Risk to develop multiple different types of cancer
  • Onset of cancer can occur in childhood
Gene: NBN
Possibly increased, but not well understood or defined at this time Possible risk for other cancers