A/Professor Geoffrey Lindeman (Vic), Dr Gillian Mitchell (Vic) , Dr Alan Stapleton (SA)
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
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.