Genome Mapping Links Region to Prostate Cancer in Blacks

Chromosome 8q24 strongly associated with disease in younger men of African descent

THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a region on chromosome 8q24 that is significantly associated with prostate cancer risk in African American men, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

To understand why African Americans have a 1.6 times higher risk for developing prostate cancer than European Americans, David Reich, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used whole genome admixture mapping, which involves identifying lineage-specific genes in mixed-ancestry populations, to scan for susceptibility genes in 1,597 African Americans with prostate cancer.

The investigators identified a 3.8 million base-pair region of chromosome 8q24 that was significantly associated with prostate cancer risk in younger men of African ancestry (logarithm of odds score = 7.1). This region agrees with results from a previous linkage analysis study but, so far, has not revealed the causal genes.

"Follow-up work will be necessary to identify the as-yet undiscovered causal risk variant(s) at 8q24," the authors write. Discovering the gene or genes "may translate into better understanding of prostate cancer and may play a role in strategies for screening of the population and identifying new targets for treatment and prevention," they conclude.

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