Hereditary breast cancer was first discovered in the mid 1990's with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.  Shortly afterwards, a relationship between BRCA gene mutations and high risk of ovarian cancer was discovered, as was a relationship between BRCA genes and prostate cancer, particularly in BRCA2 mutation carriers.


Every person carries BRCA genes, both male and female. Both male and female can carry mutations in those genes and pass them to their biological children. When the term 'hereditary breast and ovarian syndrome (HBOC) syndrome' came into being, it was understood that men could carry and pass down BRCA mutations to their children, but the tie to prostate cancer had not yet been solidified.  We now know HBOC syndrome is caused by one of any number of genes that, if mutated, raise the risk of cancer, and we also know cancer risk differs depending on the gene that is mutated, and the particular mutation within that gene.  Of the 20 HBOC syndrome 'risky genes' that have been discovered to date, 5 are known to also raise the risk of prostate cancer, 


With hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, most of the research we have to date is on the BRCA genes.  This also holds true for hereditary prostate cancer.


Reasons a male may want to consider genetic testing:


To have more concrete evidence regarding their own cancer risk, rather than just relying on family history.  This may prompt better participation in regular cancer screening.



To know whether they also have an increased risk for male breast cancer, pancreas, melanoma or any of the other cancers that may be related to the particular genetic mutation they carry.  LEARN MORE



To have information that could provide knowledge regardingincreased cancer risk for children or other biological family members.  LEARN MORE


Inherited gene mutations are passed down at a rate of 50%.  To have information to share with their partner regarding the level of risk that their own mutation could be passed to biological children.



If with a partner that also carries risky genes,  to know more about any increased risks for their biological children to also be carriers, so informed decisions can be made that may include pre-implantation diagnosisFor example, a union between a BRCA2 carrier and another BRCA2 carrier may result in Fanconi Anemia in their childrenLEARN MORE



They are of Ashkenazi Jewish decent (1 in 40 carry one of 3 founder HBOC syndrome gene mutations).  LEARN MORE



Hereditary prostate cancer tends to be diagnosed at earlier ages, be more aggressive and has a higher rate of recurrence.  They would have access to earlier screening to try to catch prostate cancer early, when treatment may be more effective. The American Urological Association now recognizes the importance of genetic testing with regard to inherited prostate cancer and the need for early screening.  LEARN MORE



After a prostate cancer diagnosis, where that knowledge may affect the type of treatmentLEARN MORE


Hereditary Prostate Cancer

hboc syndrome and prostate cancer