Genomic Testing for Prostate Cancer

Genomic Testing for Prostate Cancer

Genomic testing for prostate cancer is the process of identifying gene mutations in patients with prostate cancer or those who want to know if they have an increased risk of getting cancer. Gene mutations can help physicians predict response to different treatment options and predict how aggressive the tumor will be.

Genomic testing for prostate cancer, measures the expression of certain genes in prostate cancer cells. Each gene in your body can be mutated either during your lifetime or inherited from family members. Researchers are continuously studying the cause of the gene mutations and their behavior through clinical studies.

What Genomic Tests are Available for Prostate Cancer?

Genomic testing methods for prostate cancer can differ in the type of sample collected from the patient. There are multiple methods of testing for gene mutations. Testing for a select group of genes specific to risk in a cancer type is called genetic testing. Genomic testing covers all cells in the body and detects any increased risk for various cancer types. Patients should consult their physician for which kind of test is right for them. The two methods of genomic testing used for prostate cancer include:

  • Germline Testing: A blood test is performed, or a sample of saliva is collected from the individual and analyzed to confirm the exact inherited gene mutations, if any are present. For those who do not have prostate cancer, this will show any increased risks for developing other cancer types.

  • Somatic Testing: A biopsy of the tumor is taken or tumor DNA from the blood is collected. This type of test is available only for patients with a confirmed cancer diagnosis. Eligibility for prostate cancer targeted therapies can be confirmed and all gene mutations are identified.

For patients who receive a prostatectomy, the same tissue can be tested for genetic mutations. Some mutations can predict the patient’s response to surgery and the likelihood of metastasis.

Who Should Get Genomic Testing?

Everyone should consider getting a genomic test to learn the exact gene mutations you have and how they affect your risk of developing cancer, or the overall prognosis of the disease. Many cancer types have targeted therapies available for specific gene mutations. To see if genomic testing would benefit you, speak with your physician. The three most common genes responsible for increasing prostate cancer risk are:

  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • HOXB13

1 in 6 prostate cancer patients have an inherited gene mutation, which was noted to be the cause of the cancer. Many times, these patients develop metastasis within five years of diagnosis, which is four times more than those who did not inherit one of the genes. Cases with inherited genes, also known as hereditary cancers, have a mortality rate that is six times higher than cases that are not hereditary. Because prostate cancer has a higher rate of hereditary cancer cases, prostate cancer patients, and those with a family history, should consider genomic testing.


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