9 January 2023

Data-based prediction could transform screening, say researchers

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and the University of Cambridge have created a new tool for predicting a man’s individual risk of developing prostate cancer. They say this will help ensure that men at greatest risk are tested appropriately and that unnecessary and potentially invasive testing is kept to a minimum.

The CanRisk-Prostate tool draws genetic and cancer family history data from almost 17,000 families affected by prostate cancer. It uses data on genetic faults in moderate-to-high-risk genes and a risk score based on 268 common low-risk variants, together with detailed cancer family history, to predict future risks.

The researchers believe that, in practice, clinicians will be able to use any combination of cancer family history, rare and common genetic variants to provide a personalised risk prediction.

The study describing the model is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Co-author Ros Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at the ICR and Clinical Consultant at the Royal Marsden, London, said: “This is an important step forward as it will enable clinicians to have conversations with men about their individual risk of prostate cancer based on the most accurate computer model to date. This will help them in making decisions about screening.”