This chapter focuses on the hereditary components of prostate cancer. All cancer has a genetic component, yet only a fraction of cancers are hereditary. While hereditary mutations are present in every cell of the body, somatic mutations are present only in cells that arise from a specific somatic cell. Many inherited mutations do not unilaterally cause cancer, but typically increase the risk of developing cancer due to subsequent somatic events. Family studies have utilized the variable balance of genetics and environment to quantify the risk of prostate cancer, thus providing the basis for family history risk assessment. With the role of genetics firmly established by twin studies and the increased risk quantified by family studies, several complex segregation analyses were undertaken to identify the most likely mode of inheritance for prostate cancer genes. Linkage analyses identify and define specific chromosomal regions associated with inheritance of a disease of interest, such as prostate cancer. This involves tracing the inheritance of multiple genetic landmarks (genetic markers) within families to identify landmarks associated with the disease and to measure the extent of this linkage. Advances in molecular biology, laboratory automation, and analytical capabilities have accelerated the search for hereditary prostate cancer genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology