Myriad Genetics Marking Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with Hereditary Testing Outreach

Myriad Genetics Marking Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with Hereditary Testing Outreach

Myriad Genetics is marking Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by highlighting the importance of assessing the hereditary risk of the disease.

The company is using its myRisk Hereditary Cancer test in its public outreach effort in September. The tool identifies mutations in men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Myriad develops and commercializes molecular diagnostic tests that can determine the risk of developing a disease, assess the risk of it progressing, and guide patients’ treatment decisions.

The myRisk test looks for 28 genes associated with eight hereditary types of cancer, including prostate cancer, to assess hereditary cancer risk. In its two decades of molecular diagnostics work, Myriad has tested more than 2.7 million people.

“We are proud to be leaders in the field of prostate cancer, and myRisk is an excellent complement to our existing prostate cancer prognostic test, Prolaris, to further enhance physicians’ ability to individualize care for patients with prostate cancer,” Jonathan Lancaster, Myriad’s chief medical officer, said in a press release. “We are pleased to bring myRisk’s quality and accuracy in prostate cancer genetics to physicians who are working tirelessly to help patients and their children protect their health in the future.”

Men with prostate cancer that stems from hereditary gene mutations have worse outcomes. A key reason is that the mutations increase the chance of the disease spreading. The mutations also put men at risk of developing secondary cancers.

The increased risks prompted the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to publish a set of guidelines encouraging certain men with prostate cancer to have genetic testing. These are men with a family history of cancer and a 7 or higher score on the Gleason prostate cancer classification index.

About 2.9 million American men have prostate cancer, making it the second deadliest cancer in the country, according to the American Cancer Society. About 15 percent of prostate cancer cases are due to an inherited mutation.

“I am actively testing my patients because data show that hereditary gene mutations, such as those found in both the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes, cause higher rates of aggressive prostate cancer,” said Neil Mariados, a doctor at Syracuse Radiation Oncology. “By using myRisk, I am helping my patients create plans to mitigate their cancer risk and protect their children, who have a 50 percent chance of inheriting these gene mutations if their father is found to be a mutation carrier.”