Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) is a leading cause of mortality and genetic factors can influence tumour aggressiveness. Several germline variants have been associated with PCa-specific mortality (PCSM), but further replication evidence is needed.
Methods: Twenty-two previously identified PCSM-associated genetic variants were genotyped in seven PCa cohorts (12,082 patients; 1544 PCa deaths). For each cohort, Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for risk of PCSM associated with each variant. Data were then combined using a meta-analysis approach.
Results: Fifteen SNPs were associated with PCSM in at least one of the seven cohorts. In the meta-analysis, after adjustment for clinicopathological factors, variants in the MGMT (rs2308327; HR 0.90; p-value = 3.5 × 10-2) and IL4 (rs2070874; HR 1.22; p-value = 1.1 × 10-3) genes were confirmed to be associated with risk of PCSM. In analyses limited to men diagnosed with local or regional stage disease, a variant in AKT1, rs2494750, was also confirmed to be associated with PCSM risk (HR 0.81; p-value = 3.6 × 10-2).
Conclusions: This meta-analysis confirms the association of three genetic variants with risk of PCSM, providing further evidence that genetic background plays a role in PCa-specific survival. While these variants alone are not sufficient as prognostic biomarkers, these results may provide insights into the biological pathways modulating tumour aggressiveness.