BRCA1/2 mutations increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer in men. Common genetic variants modify cancer risks for female carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations. We investigated—for the first time to our knowledge—associations of common genetic variants with breast and prostate cancer risks for male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations and implications for cancer risk prediction.
We genotyped 1,802 male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 by using the custom Illumina OncoArray. We investigated the combined effects of established breast and prostate cancer susceptibility variants on cancer risks for male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations by constructing weighted polygenic risk scores (PRSs) using published effect estimates as weights.
In male carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations, PRS that was based on 88 female breast cancer susceptibility variants was associated with breast cancer risk (odds ratio per standard deviation of PRS, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.19 to 1.56; P = 8.6 × 10−6). Similarly, PRS that was based on 103 prostate cancer susceptibility variants was associated with prostate cancer risk (odds ratio per SD of PRS, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.35 to 1.81; P = 3.2 × 10−9). Large differences in absolute cancer risks were observed at the extremes of the PRS distribution. For example, prostate cancer risk by age 80 years at the 5th and 95th percentiles of the PRS varies from 7% to 26% for carriers of BRCA1 mutations and from 19% to 61% for carriers of BRCA2 mutations, respectively.