Imaging-based prostate cancer screening among BRCA mutation carriers-results from the first round of screening

Ann Oncol. 2020 Nov;31(11):1545-1552. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2020.06.025. Epub 2020 Sep 18.


Background: Male-carriers of BRCA1/2 gene mutations have an increased risk of prostate cancer (PCa) with a more aggressive phenotype. Current screening-guidelines suggest the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) only among BRCA2 carriers. Female carriers have extensive guidelines that include imaging. Our objective was to test the prevalence of PCa among BRCA carriers and examine screening strategies, using PSA and multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI).

Patients and methods: We recruited men aged 40-70 years with BRCA1/2 germline mutations and no prior history of prostate biopsy. All men underwent an initial round of screening which included PSA, and prostate mpMRI. PSA was considered elevated using an age-stratified threshold of ≥1 ng/ml for 40-50 years of age, ≥2 ng/ml for 50-60 years of age, and 2.5 ng/ml for 60-70 years of age. Men with elevated PSA and/or suspicious lesion on mpMRI were offered a prostate biopsy. PSA levels, MRI findings, PCa incidence, and tumor characteristics were evaluated. Decision curve analysis was used to compare screening strategies.

Results: We recruited 188 men (108 BRCA1, 80 BRCA2), mean age 54 years (9.8). One hundred and ten (57%) had either elevated age-stratified PSA (75; 40%), a suspicious MRI lesion (67; 36%), or both (32; 17%). Of these, 92 (85%) agreed to perform a prostate biopsy. Sixteen (8.5%) were diagnosed with PCa; 44% of the tumors were classified as intermediate- or high-risk disease. mpMRI-based screening missed only one of the cancers (6%), while age-stratified PSA would have missed five (31%). Decision curve analysis showed that mpMRI screening, regardless of PSA, had the highest net benefit for PCa diagnosis, especially among men younger than 55 years of age. We found no difference in the risk of PCa between BRCA1 and BRCA2 (8.3% versus 8.7%, P = 0.91). Ninety percent had a Jewish founder mutation, thus the results cannot be generalized to all ethnic groups.

Conclusions: PCa is prevalent among BRCA carriers. Age may affect screening strategy for PCa in this population. Young carriers could benefit from initial MRI screening. BRCA carriers aged older than 55 years should use PSA and be referred to mpMRI if elevated.

Trial registration: ID: NCT02053805.

Keywords: BRCA; PSA; magnetic resonance imaging; prostate cancer; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Genes, BRCA2
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / epidemiology


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Associated data