Men who carry inherited alterations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly at younger ages (40-70 years). Currently, there is no established screening test for prostate cancer in this group of men. This is the Australian arm of an international study with the main objective of investigating whether using a yearly blood test for a marker, called prostate specific antigen (PSA), is useful to detect prostate cancer in this group of men and if the type of prostate cancer detected is similar or different to the prostate cancer that occurs in the general population of men.
It will also give us the opportunity to try and discover new markers of prostate cancer in this group of men by taking additional yearly blood and urine samples which could have additional benefits for prostate cancer screening of men in the general population. The IMPACT Study is of specific significance for Australian men with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations as currently there are limited options available to them to manage their increased prostate cancer risk.
The ability to access prostate cancer screening in Australia is patchy and there is no mechanism of auditing this practice even if it exists. This study provides the opportunity to answer important research questions, including the need for clinical services. Finally, as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are rare, an international study is the only way a sufficient number of men can be recruited to answer these important research questions.
As Australia has a very well organised, research-friendly set of Family Cancer Clinics and large-scale projects on BRCA1/2 mutation-carriers (kConFab), we are in an enviable position to recruit a significant number of eligible men. It also gives us the opportunity to undertake additional Australian-based research studies on this group of men already recruited for the IMPACT Study which will be the subject of future grant applications.
This project is investigating whether a yearly blood test for a marker, prostate specific antigen (PSA), is useful to detect prostate cancer in men carrying an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Such mutations are believed to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
We will also study whether the cancers that arise in BRCA carriers differ in any way to common forms of prostate cancer. Blood and tissue samples will also be collected to assist with the discovery of potential new markers of prostate cancer.
A/Professor Geoffrey Lindeman (Vic), Dr Gillian Mitchell (Vic) , Dr Alan Stapleton (SA)
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Multi-State Research Grant: 2006-2008
$63,300 per annum