Researchers from 12 institutes have identified several regions of the human genome that likely contain genes, which when altered, increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. This is the first genome-wide study of this type, according to the NIH.
Published in the journal, The Prostate, these findings represent a milestone in years of research to identify genetic risk factors for prostate cancer and to help determine if heredity plays a role in the disparity in prostate cancer rates seen in African American men.
The African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer (AAHPC) study network recruited 77 African American extended families, which encompassed a total of 418 men with prostate cancer, to participate in this study. All the families had at least four men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Using genetic markers, researchers were able to map several important regions of the human genome that likely contain genes, which when mutated, predispose these men to prostate cancer.
"We now must sift through millions of bases of genome sequence to identify the proverbial needle in the haystack," cautions the study's senior author, John Carpten, Ph.D., who is director of the Integrated Cancer Genomics Division at TGen.
The AAHPC was a collaborative effort involving 12 institutions nationwide: TGen, Fox Chase Cancer Center, NHGRI, Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, National Human Genome Center, Department of Microbiology and Division of Urology at Howard University, Washington, Midtown Urology in Atlanta, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston, University of Illinois in Chicago, University of South Carolina in Columbia, and Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University in Detroit.