It is already known that men of African descent are more susceptible to prostate cancer than men of other ancestry. Now a study conducted by a team at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California has shown that some Black men may also have an identifiable “marker of risk” that indicates why they are more likely to develop the disease.
The genome-wide association study was published in the journal Nature Genetics on May 22. In a Sciencedaily.com article, the leader of the research team, Christopher Haiman, says it was the first study of its kind conducted with men of African ancestry and that “we have been trying to figure out why African-American men have a greater risk for prostate cancer. These findings may help us better understand if there is a genetic contribution to disparities in risk for this common cancer."
According to Science Daily, the research included 3,425 African-American men with prostate cancer and 3,290 Black male controls. The research discovered a risk marker in 5 percent of men of African ancestry that is rare in other populations.
The research was building on work done several years ago. That is when Haiman’s team found a risk variant on a chromosome that provided tips as to why Black men are more likely to have this type of cancer.
Haiman says that this is only a step, and that the findings should lead to other genome-wide investigations that “locate risk markers that are common or rare but which may play a role in racial and ethnic disease disparities.”
View other BET coverage about prostate cancer.
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