Research determines apparent genetic link to prostate cancer in African-American men

Some men of African descent may have a higher genetic risk of developing prostate cancer, according to research conducted at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).

The genome-wide association study, published in the journal Nature Genetics on May 22, determined a marker of risk for prostate cancer in men of African descent, who tend to more susceptible to prostate cancer than men of non-African descent. The research team was led by Christopher Haiman, ScD., at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, part of the Keck School.

"This is a novel risk locus for prostate cancer, and the first study of its kind conducted in men of ," said Haiman, associate professor in the Keck School Department of Preventive Medicine. "We have been trying to figure out why have a greater risk for prostate cancer. These findings may help us better understand if there is a to disparities in risk for this common cancer."

The research looked at common risk alleles for prostate cancer in men of African descent to determine a possible reason for the high incidence of prostate cancer in this population. The research focused on approximately one million single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers across the genome of 3,425 African-American men with prostate cancer and 3,290 African-American male controls. The research turned up a novel risk variant on chromosome 17q21. The frequency of this marker is 5 percent in men of African ancestry but is rare in other populations.

The discovery builds on findings several years ago by Haiman's team of a risk region on chromosome 8q24, which also contains clues as to why more men in this population are likely to develop prostate cancer.

The findings support the need for additional genome-wide investigations to locate risk markers that are common or rare, which may play a role in racial and ethnic disease disparities, Haiman said.

More information: Genome-wide association study of prostate cancer in men of African ancestry identifies a susceptibility locus at 17q21, Christopher A. Haiman, et al. Nature Genetics, May 2011.

Related Stories

Prostate cancer: Major risk for blacks

Aug 22, 2006

U.S. researchers have identified a DNA segment on chromosome 8 that is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, especially in African-American men.

Recommended for you

Two genes linked to inflammatory bowel disease

20 hours ago

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a group of chronic inflammatory disorders of the intestine that result in painful and debilitating complications, affects over 1.4 million people in the U.S., and while there are treatments ...

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Apr 20, 2014

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

User comments