Purpose: This study aimed to quantify the probability of overdiagnosis of prostate cancer by polygenic risk.
Methods: We calculated the polygenic risk score based on 66 known prostate cancer susceptibility variants for 17,012 men aged 50-69 years (9,404 men identified with prostate cancer and 7,608 with no cancer) derived from three UK-based ongoing studies. We derived the probabilities of overdiagnosis by quartiles of polygenic risk considering that the observed prevalence of screen-detected prostate cancer is a combination of underlying incidence, mean sojourn time (MST), test sensitivity, and overdiagnosis.
Results: Polygenic risk quartiles 1 to 4 comprised 9, 18, 25, and 48% of the cases, respectively. For a prostate-specific antigen test sensitivity of 80% and MST of 9 years, 43, 30, 25, and 19% of the prevalent screen-detected cancers in quartiles 1 to 4, respectively, were likely to be overdiagnosed cancers. Overdiagnosis decreased with increasing polygenic risk, with 56% decrease between the lowest and the highest polygenic risk quartiles.
Conclusion: Targeting screening to men at higher polygenic risk could reduce the problem of overdiagnosis and lead to a better benefit-to-harm balance in screening for prostate cancer.