A study looking at the genetic causes of prostate cancer - UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study (UKGPCS)

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study is trying to find out more about how a family history of the disease can increase a man's risk of prostate cancer.

More about this trial

Previous research has suggested that if a man has a family history of prostate cancer this will increase his risk of developing this disease. This study aims to increase our understanding of the genetic causes of prostate cancer.

It is hoped that the information gained from this trial will help the researchers to

  • find out how many families have a strong family history of prostate cancer
  • work out a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer if he has a family history
  • find out if a man’s family history of prostate cancer also increases his risk of developing other cancers
  • identify other faulty genes that can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer (we already know about BRCA1 and BRCA2)
  • find out whether these faulty genes are influenced by our lifestyle or surroundings (environment)
  • find out whether these faulty genes can tell doctors how a prostate cancer will behave and how it should be treated
  • look for substances in the body called biomarkers which could help doctors know how the cancer might behave and how well treatment will work 

In the long term, the results of this study may help to find ways to diagnose prostate cancer early and to prevent prostate cancer in some men.

Who can enter

All patients with prostate cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital are asked to become part of this study.

If you are a patient elsewhere you may be able to join this study if one of the following applies. You 

  • Have prostate cancer and also have a first, second or third degree relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and one of you was diagnosed at 65 or under
  • Are one of three or more members on the same side of your family with prostate cancer diagnosed at any age

You cannot enter this study if you have prostate cancer but are too unwell to take part.

In this study

  • A first degree relative is a father, son or brother
  • A second degree relative is a grandfather, grandson, uncle, nephew or half-brother
  • A third degree relative is a first cousin, great grandfather or great grandson

Trial design

This study is recruiting 26,000 patients. You might be asked to take part by a doctor or nurse looking after you. or you may receive an invitation in the post. Or you can refer yourself by emailing or writing to the study co-ordinators, explaining why you think you may be able to take part. 

You can email ukgpcs@icr.ac.uk or the address is The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study, Institute of Cancer Research & The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, 15 Cotwolds Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5NG. 

If you take part, you will be sent a questionnaire in the post. This will ask questions about your family, such as their names, dates of birth and any illnesses they have had.

It is important to check with members of your family that they are happy for you to do this. If you are concerned about giving personal information about your relatives you may give anonymous information about them. Members of your family will never be contacted without your permission.

The researchers will ask you for a saliva sample. If you are not able to give a saliva sample you will be asked to provide a small sample of blood. You have the blood sample taken at your GP surgery or hospital, depending on how your local services are arranged. The DNA from the saliva or blood sample will be stored in a DNA bank.

The researchers will look at all the DNA to try to find faulty genes that may be related to prostate cancer. These results will be compared with other DNA samples. The DNA samples are taken for the purposes of this study only. This should not affect your right to apply for insurance, such as life or medical insurance.

The researchers may also ask your hospital for a sample of your cancer tissue, taken during your original prostate biopsy or operation. This sample is stored and might be used for future studies.

There is more information about this study on the UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study website.

Hospital visits

Taking part in this study does not involve any extra visits to your hospital. If you are having treatment for your prostate cancer, this will not affect your medical care.

Side effects

Providing a sample of your saliva is a simple procedure. This should not cause you any problems or side effects. 

If you have a blood sample taken instead of a saliva sample, you might have some bruising on the skin where this is taken.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Prof R. Eeles

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
Movember Foundation
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Prof Eeles' Research Fund
Prostate Cancer UK

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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