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Scientists Discover New Genetic Variant Associated with Prostate Cancer in African Americans

11/01/2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 – Today researchers report a newly identified genetic variation that is linked to higher incidence of prostate cancer in African American men. This study, which emphasizes the importance of characterizing genetic markers associated with prostate cancer in high-risk populations, is published online in Genome Research (www.genome.org).

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and, according to the American Cancer Society, will claim the lives of more than 27,000 men in the United States this year. Among different populations, prostate cancer exhibits significant variation in incidence rates, with African American men exhibiting the highest rate worldwide.

Recent studies investigating genetic variations associated with susceptibility to prostate cancer have implicated a specific region of chromosome 8 as harboring potential markers for the disease. In the study published today, the research groups lead by Dr. Rick Kittles of the University of Chicago and Dr. John Carpten of the Translational Genomics Research Institute further analyzed the 8q24 region of chromosome 8 by comparing the genotypes of 490 African American men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 567 control subjects. “This study took advantage of differences in genetic ancestry among the African American men in order to replicate and further localize a risk locus for prostate cancer,” says Kittles.

Using this information, the researchers characterized new genetic markers which were significantly associated with prostate cancer. “Since the prevalence of prostate cancer is almost two-fold higher among African Americans compared to European Americans, the use of ancestry informative markers for association with prostate cancer is quite powerful. We identified a novel prostate cancer risk locus that maps within a gene region on 8q24,” Kittles says. “This region contains an interesting candidate gene involved in DNA repair.”

The data gathered in this study confirmed previous investigations, indicating that common genetic variants are linked to elevated prostate cancer risk, and found even stronger effects for several of the markers on 8q24 in African Americans. These results have important implications for diagnosis and therapy. “The significance may be quite broad given the multiple genetic variants along 8q24 that impact risk,” Kittles explains. “It is likely that within the 8q24 region there is inherited predisposition to genetic instability and this is leading to increased cancer risk. By studying this region, we may be able to develop molecular targets for improved screening, early detection, and possibly treatment.”

Scientists from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (Phoenix, AZ), the University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), the University of Oxford (UK), and Howard University Hospital (Washington, DC) contributed to this study.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

Media contacts:
Rick Kittles, Ph.D., (rkittles@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu) and John Carpten, Ph.D., (jcarpten@tgen.org), co-senior authors of this study, have agreed to be contacted by email for additional information.

Interested reporters may obtain copies of the manuscript from Peggy Calicchia (calicchi@cshl.edu; phone +1-516-422-4012), Editorial Secretary, Genome Research.

About the article: The manuscript will be published online ahead of print on Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Its full citation is as follows: Robbins, C., Torres, J.B., Hooker, S., Bonilla, C., Hernandez, W., Candreva, A., Ahaghotu, C., Kittles, R., and Carpten, J. 2007. Confirmation study of prostate cancer risk variants at 8q24 in African Americans identifies a novel risk locus. Genome Res. doi:10.1101/gr.6782707 Read the article.

About Genome Research:
Genome Research (www.genome.org) is an international, continuously published, peer-reviewed journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Launched in 1995, it is one of the five most highly cited primary research journals in genetics and genomics.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com.

Genome Research issues press releases to highlight significant research studies that are published in the journal.



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