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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Apr 15;89(8):3367-71.

Mendelian inheritance of familial prostate cancer.

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Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD.


Previous studies have demonstrated familial clustering of prostate cancer. To define the nature of this familial aggregation and to assess whether Mendelian inheritance can explain prostate cancer clustering, proportional hazards and segregation analyses were performed on 691 families ascertained through a single prostate cancer proband. The proportional hazards analyses revealed that two factors, early age at onset of disease in the proband and multiple affected family members, were important determinants of risk of prostate cancer in these families. Furthermore, segregation analyses revealed that this clustering can be best explained by autosomal dominant inheritance of a rare (q = 0.0030) high-risk allele leading to an early onset of prostate cancer. The estimated cumulative risk of prostate cancer for carriers revealed that the allele was highly penetrant: by age 85, 88% of carriers compared to only 5% of noncarriers are projected to be affected with prostate cancer. The best fitting autosomal dominant model further suggested that this inherited form of prostate cancer accounts for a significant proportion of early onset disease but overall is responsible for a small proportion of prostate cancer occurrence (9% by age 85). These data provide evidence that prostate cancer is inherited in Mendelian fashion in a subset of families and provide a foundation for gene mapping studies of heritable prostate cancer. Characterization of genes involved in inherited prostate cancer could provide important insight into the development of this disease in general.

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