Family history in the Finnish Prostate Cancer Screening Trial

Int J Cancer. 2015 May 1;136(9):2172-7. doi: 10.1002/ijc.29243. Epub 2014 Oct 10.


Family history (FH) is one of the few known risk factors for prostate cancer (PC). There is also new evidence about mortality reduction in screening of PC with prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Therefore, we conducted a prospective study in the Finnish Prostate Cancer Screening Trial to evaluate the impact of FH on outcomes of PC screening. Of the 80,144 men enrolled, 31,866 men were randomized to the screening arm and were invited for screening with PSA test (cut-off 4 ng/ml) every 4 years. At the time of each invitation, FH of PC (FH) was assessed through a questionnaire. The analysis covered a follow-up of 12 years from randomization for all men with data on FH. Of the 23,702 (74.3%) invited men attending screening, 22,756 (96.0%) provided information of their FH. Altogether 1,723 (7.3%) men reported at least one first-degree relative diagnosed with PC and of them 235 (13.6%) were diagnosed with PC. Men with a first-degree FH had increased risk for PC (risk ratio (RR) 1.31, p < 0.001) and the risk was especially elevated for interval cancer (RR 1.65, 95% CI 1.27-2.15). Risk for low-grade (Gleason 2-6) tumors was increased (RR 1.46, 95% CI 1.15-1.69), but it was decreased for Gleason 8-10 tumors (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.25-0.95). PSA test performance (sensitivity and specificity) was slightly inferior for FH positives. No difference in PC mortality was observed in terms of FH. Our findings provide no support for selective PSA screening targeting men with FH of PC.

Keywords: early detection of cancer; familial; prostate cancer; prostatic neoplasms; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen