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Researchers Publish Genome-Wide Study of Prostate Cancer in African American men


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Researchers from 14 institutions across the country have announced the results of the genome-wide linkage study of prostate cancer in African Americans.

Using genetic markers, researchers identified several regions of the human genome that likely contain genes that, when altered, increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The study was conceived, implemented and executed primarily by African American investigators.

The African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study Network (AAHPC) recruited 77 African American extended families, which encompassed a total of 418 men with prostate cancer, to participate in this study.

All of the families studied had at least four men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Using genetic markers, researchers were able to map several important regions of the human genome that likely contain genes that, when mutated, predispose these men to developing prostate cancer.

"We now must sift through millions of bases of genome sequence to identify the proverbial 'needle in the haystack'," said John Carpten, PhD, senior author and director of TGen's Integrated Cancer Genomics Division.

"The discovery of these genes will hopefully lead to new and improved modes of diagnosis and treatment for some men with prostate cancer."

"This work speaks to our committed efforts to help reduce the disparity in prostate cancer rates seen among African American men."

"We hope today's findings-and the discoveries we expect to make in future years-will inspire the worldwide research community to view this study as a model for many other genetic studies of common diseases," said Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

"Not only does this study represent one of the most impressive collections of prostate cancer families from any ethnic group, it demonstrates the importance of setting up a network of principal investigators who are close to the community under study."

The paper's first author, Agnes B. Baffoe-Bonnie, MD, MPH, PhD, who is an associate member at the Population Science Division at the Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) in Philadelphia, said these findings add to our understanding of hereditary prostate cancer in African Americans.

"I commend the many families who took the time to participate in this important research and praise their commitment to advancing medical knowledge."

"These important findings will be applied to prevention and treatment strategies," Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie said.

"Since this disease is so important in this population, this is a critical study in terms of our ability to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for the disproportionate risk observed in African American men for both diagnosis of and mortality from prostate cancer," said William B. Isaacs, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, who is head of the International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics.

"The mapping information provided by these researchers will provide essential information necessary for the ultimate identification of the genes involved, and hopefully for mechanistically based efforts to address this disparity."

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