Harvard Medical School researchers have identified a DNA segment on chromosome 8 that is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, especially in African American men. The paper appears in the August 21 electronic edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (also see PNAS's news tip below).
"This paper identifies a genetic risk factor that about doubles the likelihood of prostate cancer in younger African American men," says principal investigator David Reich, PhD, Harvard Medical School assistant professor of genetics with the HMS Department of Genetics and the Broad Institute. "This finding may explain why younger African Americans have an increased risk for prostate cancer than do other populations--and may also explain why this increased risk in African Americans attenuates with older age."
"This is one of the first genetic risk factors found that is responsible for an appreciable fraction of sporadic prostate cancer cases, particularly for the African American population," says lead author Matthew Freedman, Harvard Medical School instructor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute "Interestingly, we found that this region also confers risk for prostate cancer for diverse ethnic groups. The actual gene, however, remains to be identified."
The researchers used their newly developed method of "admixture mapping" to screen through the genome in African Americans (who have both African and European ancestry), searching for the segments where individuals with disease have more of one ancestry than the average. The key epidemiological fact is that prostate cancer occurs approximately 1.6-fold times more often in African Americans than in other populations. This prompted the hypothesis that there is a genetic risk factor for prostate cancer that occurs at higher frequency in African than in other populations, and that can be found by searching for a region where the proportion of African ancestry is higher than the genome average.
Reich, Freedman and their colleagues studied 1,597 African Americans with prostate cancer. They found a section of the genome in the patients that had much more than the average proportion of African ancestry, rising from 78 percent to about 85 percent. The risk factor is localized to a tiny fraction (about a thousandth) of the genome, a section on chromosome 8 containing just 9 genes.
A particularly exciting aspect of this work is that in May a separate research team also identified a genetic variant occurring within the same region, which increases risk for prostate cancer. The study by Reich and colleagues makes two additional advances. One important result is that the genetic risk factor is more important for individuals with younger age. Second, they show that the specific genetic variant reported in the earlier paper can explain only at most a small fraction of the increased risk to African Americans. Thus, major unidentified risk factors remain to be found.
Press Tip from the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPress Summary:
John Lacey | EurekAlert!
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy