New Study May Help Reduce the Vast Racial Disparity in Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer takes a greater toll on Black men than on men of other races. In the United States, one in six Black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, compared to one in eight men overall. Black men are also more than twice as likely to die from the disease.

While past studies have identified nearly 270 genetic variants linked to prostate cancer risk, researchers have yet to find a clear explanation for the disproportionate risk among men of African ancestry. Genetic research thus far has also failed to predict which men face a high risk for aggressive prostate cancer, versus those who may get less deadly forms of the disease.

A new study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California examined genome-wide association study data from more than 80,000 men. The study identified nine new genetic risk factors for prostate cancer, seven of which are found either largely or exclusively in men of African ancestry.

“The ability to differentiate between the risk for aggressive and non-aggressive forms of the disease is of critical importance,” said Christopher Haiman, who holds AFLAC Chair in Cancer Research at the university’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center  and senior author of the study. “Until now, risk scores haven’t been able to do that.”

These findings can be used to refine polygenic risk scores, tools that assess a person’s risk for a condition based on the combined influence of multiple genetic factors. More accurate polygenic risk scores for men of African descent could help in identifying high-risk patients early on. The newly identified variants can be incorporated into genetic tests that help patients understand their cancer risk and decide how early and often to get screened.

The full study, “Evidence of Novel Susceptibility Variants for Prostate Cancer and a Multiancestry Polygenic Risk Score Associated with Aggressive Disease in Men of African Ancestry,” was published on the website of the journal European Urology. It may be accessed here.

 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

The new Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism will provide research opportunities and educational events for the Johns Hopkins University community. As part of the new program, the university has announced a new undergraduate major in critical diaspora studies.

Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection housed within the Chicago Public Library will soon be available online to the public thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

Featured Jobs