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AACR: Healthy Lifestyle May Counter High Genetic Risk for Lethal Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, April 12, 2021 -- Genetic factors are associated with an increased risk for overall and lethal prostate cancer, and adherence to a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk for lethal disease among men in the highest genetic risk quartile, according to a study presented during Week 1 of the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held virtually from April 10 to 15.

Anna Plym, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used a validated polygenic risk score (PRS) for overall prostate cancer to quantify the genetic risk for prostate cancer in 10,443 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. A validated lifestyle score was applied for lethal prostate cancer, and the incidence of overall and lethal prostate cancer was examined during follow-up.

During median follow-ups of 18 and 22 years, the researchers identified 2,111 prostate cancer and 238 lethal prostate cancer events, respectively. According to risk stratification with the PRS, men in the highest versus the lowest genetic risk quartile had an increased risk for overall prostate cancer and lethal prostate cancer (hazard ratios, 5.39 and 3.53, respectively). Adherence to a healthy lifestyle versus the least healthy lifestyle was significantly associated with a reduced risk for lethal prostate cancer among men in the highest genetic risk quartile (hazard ratio, 0.54). There was no association noted for adherence to a healthy lifestyle with a decreased risk for overall prostate cancer.

"The decreased risk of aggressive disease in those with a favorable lifestyle may suggest that the excess genetic risk of lethal prostate cancer could be offset by adhering to a healthy lifestyle," Plym said in a statement.

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