Heredity and prostate cancer: a study of World War II veteran twins

Prostate. 1997 Dec 1;33(4):240-5. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0045(19971201)33:4<240::aid-pros3>;2-l.


Background: Increased risk of prostate cancer among men with a family history of the disease has been observed in several epidemiological studies, and family studies have identified hereditary prostate cancer characterized by early onset and autosomal dominant inheritance.

Methods: In this study, we examine prostate cancer heritability among twins in the NAS-NRC Twin Registry, with cases ascertained from a number of sources: recent telephone interviews, Medicare and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitalizations, previous mail questionnaires, and death certificates. A total of 1,009 prostate cancer cases were identified among the cohort of 31,848 veteran twins born in the years 1917-1927.

Results: Probandwise concordance for prostate cancer was substantially higher among monozygous twin pairs, 27.1%, than among dizygous twin pairs, 7.1% (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: These data suggest that genetic influences account for approximately 57%, and environmental influences for 43%, of the variability in twin liability for prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Veterans*