Brian T. Helfand, MD, PhD, presented “Genetic Risk Score for Prostate Cancer Screening​” for the Grand Rounds in Urology audience in August 2020.

How to cite: Helfand, Brian T. “Genetic Risk Score for Prostate Cancer Screening” August 2020. Accessed Aug 2022.


Brian T. Helfand, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Urology at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois, discusses the growing role of genetic assessment in prostate cancer screening, emphasizing the benefits of finding patients’ single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based polygenic risk score (PRS). He acknowledges the roles of family history and testing for rare pathogenic mutations like BRCA2, ATM, and CHEK2, but observes that the former can change over time and be difficult to accurately obtain, while the latter is only relevant to a small percentage of patients. PRS, or genetic risk score, is a number calculated based on the cumulative variation across multiple SNPs, which is then used to provide an easily interpreted estimate of disease risk that is more informative than family history, improves predictive performance, and is significantly associated with both prostate cancer incidence and mortality. Dr. Helfand concludes by noting that there are currently no agreed upon guidelines for timing and frequency of PSA testing, but genetic assessment, and particularly PRS, could clarify who would benefit from early screening.

For more information on genomic testing and prostate cancer, visit our Next Generation Genomics & Biomarkers Learning Center.