A new Polish study based on two specific founder mutations in PALB2 reported that mutations in this gene may predispose to an aggressive, lethal form of prostate cancer.1 The investigators studied PALB2 prostate cancer risks, characteristics, and outcomes in almost 5,500 men with prostate cancer and compared them to over 8,000 cancer-free adults from Poland.
Their findings showed:
- no increase in prostate cancer risk in male PALB2 carriers (Odds Ratio (OR): 1.38; p=0.45)
- high grade prostate cancers were more common in PALB2 carriers versus non-carriers (64% vs. 18% with Gleason score ≥ 7; OR: 8.05 (95% CI: 3.57-18.15, p< 0.001))
- PALB2 was associated with poor prostate cancer-specific survival
While these results are important, it remains to be seen whether PALB2 mutations predispose to prostate cancer across all populations, or if this is a finding specific to the Polish population. In fact, a prior Polish study suggested that PALB2 may be associated with aggressive forms of breast cancer with poorer outcomes.2 These findings continue to require confirmation and are part of our efforts to study breast cancer characteristics and outcomes among PALB2 carriers (https://inheritedcancer.net/palb2-study). 1Wokolorczyk, et al. Br J Cancer. 2021 Aug. PMID: 34006922. 2Cybulski, et al. Lancet Oncol. 2015 Jun. PMID: 25959805.