prostatecancerMen who develop prostate cancer after inheriting a faulty gene need immediate surgery or radiotherapy rather than being placed under surveillance, as their disease is more aggressive than other types, a new study has found.

A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust found prostate cancers spread more quickly and were more often fatal in men who had inherited a faulty BRCA2 gene than in men without the faulty gene.

The research, funded by the Ronald and Rita McAulay Foundation and Cancer Research UK, could challenge current NHS guidelines for prostate cancer, under which BRCA2 mutation carriers are offered the same treatment options as non-carriers.

It is often difficult to tell at diagnosis whether prostate cancer will be life-threatening or not, and while treatment options for early-stage disease include surgery and radiotherapy, many men instead receive active surveillance to see if the disease starts to progress.

The new study, published recently in the Journal of the Clinical Oncology, is the largest to compare prostate cancer patients with and without BRCA mutations, in order to tell whether gene testing should help to direct management options.