New genetic variant associated with PCa in African-Americans

November 15, 2007

Two tiny genetic variations may provide the best clues yet for finding more precise ways to estimate prostate cancer risk and improve screening and early detection for men of African descent, report researchers from the University of Chicago and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

Two tiny genetic variations may provide the best clues yet for finding more precise ways to estimate prostate cancer risk and improve screening and early detection for men of African descent, report researchers from the University of Chicago and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

The researchers set out to determine whether results from four previous studies that linked genetic variations on one region of chromosome 8 to increased prostate cancer risk among Caucasians were also valid for men of African heritage. In the process, however, they found an additional genetic variation among African-American men that was an even stronger marker for cancer risk for these men.

That variation is located within a gene that plays a role in DNA repair. A malfunction in DNA repair could contribute to cancer development.

“This finding emphasizes the importance of ancestry in studying genetics,” said study author Rick Kittles, PhD. “Previous studies led us to one specific region of chromosome 8. Then this approach, which took advantage of genetic differences among African-American men, who are at very high risk for this type of cancer, led us to a different locus within that region and directly to a gene of interest.”

The study was published ahead of print in the Oct. 31 online issue of Genome Research.