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Can a Novel Genetic Scoring Method Predict the Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

By: Joshua Swore, PhD
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2023

A new genetic scoring system may be able to predict the lifetime, metastatic, and fatal risk of prostate cancer, according to a retrospective analysis published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. According to the investigators, the novel score can be calculated from a sample of saliva at any point in a patient’s life and may allow improved, individualized decisions about screening and prostate cancer detection.

“Current clinical guidelines for determining individualized risk assessment focus on race and ethnicity and family history,” said author Tyler M. Seibert, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, in an institutional press release. “We’ve demonstrated in this study, based on a very large, diverse, and longitudinal cohort, that a polygenic score adds considerably more information. Patients and their doctors can have a much better idea of which individuals are at highest risk of aggressive prostate cancer.”

The study focused on data from 590,750 patients with prostate cancer from the Million Veteran Program, which is a cohort of U.S. military veterans. Using these data, the authors evaluated a previously developed polygenic hazard score based on 290 genetic variants (PHS290). Using the PHS290 score, the authors explored the potential correlations among various risk factors (eg, genetics, race, ethnicity, family history) and age at diagnosis, metastasis, and death.

The authors reported a hazard ratio of 4.42 (95% confidence interval = 3.91–5.02) when comparing patients with PHS290 scores in the top 20% with those who had scores in the bottom 20%. They found that men with a higher PHS290 score were at a greater risk for diagnosis of metastasis and death from prostate cancer. The authors further noted that Black men with a higher PHS290 score had a greater incidence of prostate cancer than non-Hispanic White men.

Disclosure: for full disclosures of the study authors visit,

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