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UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study

Professor Rosalind Eeles, Oncogenetics team

The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study logo

The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study (UKGPCS) was first established in 1993 and is the largest prostate cancer study of its kind in the UK, involving nearly 200 hospitals. We are based at The Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey, and collaborate with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Our aim is to find genetic changes which are associated with prostate cancer risk.

If we can find alterations in genes that increase the chances of getting prostate cancer, it may be possible in the future to use this knowledge:

  • To screen other family members to see if they are also at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • To develop new prostate cancer treatments for the future. 

Contact us

Causes of prostate cancer?

Although prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men in the UK, with 1 in 8 men developing prostate cancer in their lifetime, its causes remain very poorly understood with few established risk factors.

The fact that prostate cancer incidence tends to be much higher in Western countries (for example the USA and UK), together with migrant studies, indicates that lifestyle and/or environmental factors such as diet could be important determinants of prostate cancer risk. However, so far little is known about which lifestyle factors might contribute to prostate cancer, and results between current studies are conflicting. 

Part of our study involves collaboration with Professor Kenneth Muir at the University of Manchester who is conducting a study into which environmental factors might affect prostate cancer risk. Men taking part in the UKGPCS can also opt to take part in the environmental study if they wish by filling in a lifestyle questionnaire.

Genetic causes of prostate cancer?

The UKGPCS was set up to find genetic alterations which occur in patients who have prostate cancer. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer increases if he has a first-degree relative (father or brother) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at a young age.

This is why we are looking for men who are affected at a young age or who have a family history of prostate cancer, since it is more probable that these prostate cancers are due to an inherited genetic cause rather than an environmental cause.

We also ask all men who come to the Royal Marsden Hospital to be treated for prostate cancer if they would like to take part in the study so that we can also look to see if we find genetic alterations in older men, and those who do not have a family history of prostate cancer. When did the study start and when will it end?

When did the study start and when will it end?

The study has been running since 1993 when the first patients were recruited. We have ethical approval to continue to collect samples for the study until the end of 2027.

Who can take part?

Our target is to recruit 26,000 gentlemen into the UKGPCS by 2027. Men are eligible to take part if they fit into at least one of the following groups:

  • They have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and a first, second or third degree relative where at least one of these men were diagnosed with prostate cancer at 65 years of age or under.
  • They are affected and have 3 or more cases of prostate cancer on one side of their family.
  • They are a prostate cancer patient at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
  • You are taking part in the CyberKnife prostate SBRT studies.

Contact details

If you are interested in getting involved either as a patient or as a health professional please contact us:

By post:

UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study
Institute of Cancer Research & Royal Marsden NHS Foundation
Trust Room D1N6
Sir Richard Doll Building, 15, Cotswold Road
Surrey SM2 5NG

By telephone:

020 8722 4395 

By email:

[email protected]

(Disclaimer: We are happy to be contacted by email, but please be aware that email is not considered a secure medium for confidential information).

By transport:

Directions to The Institute of Cancer Research's Sutton site

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