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Genetic Testing

Genetic Testing in Prostate Cancer

Genetic testing identifies gene mutations that can impact patients and their families. Two different types of genetic tests in prostate cancer are germline and somatic. These are clinical tests that are used by physicians to learn more about a patient’s specific prostate cancer and to help develop treatment plans. Understanding the differences between these tests is important to decide which one is right for you.

Approximately 10% of prostate cancers are thought to be caused by an inherited gene mutation. Inherited genetic mutations can be found in the BRCA1, BRCA2, and HOBX13 genes, among others. If prostate cancer was caused by an inherited gene mutation it is defined as hereditary cancer. Genetic testing for an inherited mutation should be considered if you have a history of cancer in your family. Genetic testing is done with a simple blood or saliva test. A genetic counselor can help you better understand the pros and cons of genetic testing. It is important to know that while prostate cancer can run in some families, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it.

Pedigree of the 1 in 6 men with prostate cancer who have inherited a gene mutation that may have caused their cancer.Targeted therapies are available for men with a genetic mutation and metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Germline testing also provides family members with valuable information regarding their cancer risks. Family members of men with hereditary cancer have a 50% chance of having the same genetic mutation. Germline testing can help family members know if they should be also be tested or take preventive measures to avoid developing cancer. All men with prostate cancer should consider genetic testing. Download a germline patient education guide here and learn more about germline testing here.


Dr. Heather Cheng and Dr. Channing Paller talk about the PROMISE study — a research study led by physicians from Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington. This observational study enables men with prostate cancer to find out if they have genetic factors that may influence their disease and treatment options. Learn more at ProstateCancerPROMISE.org.


Additional Genetic Testing Video Resources:

New, promising treatment options now exist for those with an inherited DNA alteration. Learn how genetic testing can help you be more proactive about your health:


While genetic testing can seem complicated and confusing at first, this video explains how you can unlock your genetic information with just a few easy steps:


To learn more about genetic testing, watch this interview between ZERO’s VP of Patient Programs & Education, Shelby Moneer, and Dr. Todd Cohen, VP of Medical Affairs/Medical Director of Urology – Myriad Genetics.

See how germline testing impacted Ed Hoppe and his family in this video: