Although previous research has demonstrated an increased risk of prostate cancer in those with a family history of the disease, researchers in Sweden have, for the first time, estimated the risk of developing various types of prostate cancer for men with brothers and/or fathers with the disease.1

Because familial prostate cancer risk estimates are increased by clinically insignificant low-risk cancer diagnosed after PSA testing, researchers sought to calculate age-specific probabilities of non-low–risk and high-risk prostate cancer.

For the study, investigators analyzed data from 51,897 brothers of 807 men with prostate cancer included in the Prostate Cancer data Base Sweden (PCBaSe).

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Results showed that the population probability of any prostate cancer was 4.8% (95% CI, 4.8-4.9) at age 65 years and 12.9% (95% CI, 12.8-12.9) at age 75 years. The probability of non-low–risk prostate cancer was 2.8% (95% CI, 2.7-2.8) at age 65 years and 8.9% (95% CI, 8.8-8.9) at age 75 years, and of high-risk prostate cancer was 1.4% (95% CI, 1.3-1.4) at age 65 years and 5.2% (95% CI, 5.1-5.2) at age 75 years. 

But for men with a brother with prostate cancer, researchers found that the probabilities of any prostate cancer were 14.9% (95% CI, 14.1-15.8) at age 65 years and 30.3% (95% CI, 29.3-31.3) at age 75 years. The probabilities of non-low–risk prostate cancer and high-risk prostate cancer were nearly 19% (95% CI, 17.9-19.6) and 8.9% (95% CI, 8.2-9.5), respectively, at age 75 years.

Of note, for men with 2 affected brothers, the probability of high-risk cancer at age 75 years was 13.6% (95% CI, 9.9-17.6), suggesting a higher risk of prostate cancer for men with a stronger family history of the disease.

“These age-specific probabilities … are more informative than relative risks of any prostate cancer and more suitable to use for counseling men with a family history of prostate cancer,” the authors conclude.


1. Bratt O, Drevin L, Akre O, Garmo H, Stattin P. Family history and probability of prostate cancer, differentiated by risk category: a nationwide population-based study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016 Jul 10. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djw110. [Epub ahead of print]