Prostate cancer in African-American men is associated with specific changes in the IL-16 gene, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
The study, published online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, establishes the association of IL-16 with prostate cancer in men of both African and European descent.
"This provides us with a new potential biomarker for prostate cancer," says principal investigator Rick Kittles, UIC associate professor of medicine in hematology/oncology.
Previously identified changes in the gene for IL-16, an immune system protein, were associated with prostate cancer in men of European descent. But the same changes in the gene's coded sequence -- called "polymorphisms" -- did not confer the same risk in African Americans.
Doubt was cast on IL-16's role in prostate cancer when researchers were unable to confirm that the IL-16 polymorphisms identified in whites were also important risk factors in African Americans, Kittles said.
Kittles and his colleagues used a technique called imputation -- a type of statistical extrapolation -- that allowed them to see new patterns of association and identify new places in the gene to look for polymorphisms. They found changes elsewhere in the IL-16 gene that were associated with prostate cancer and that were unique to African Americans.
Polymorphisms result from DNA mutations and emerge in the ancestral history of different populations. People of African descent are much more genetically diverse than whites, Kittles said, making the search for polymorphisms associated with disease more difficult.
Although the effect of the particular changes to the gene appear to be different in men of African versus European descent, it is likely that several of the polymorphisms in the gene alter the function of the IL-16 protein.
"This confirms the importance of IL-16 in prostate cancer and leads us in a new direction," Kittles said. "Very little research has been done on IL-16, so not much is known about it."
"We now need to explore the functional role of IL-16 to understand the role it is playing in prostate cancer," he said.
University of Illinois at Chicago: http://www.uic.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
There's a new contender in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness: allulose. It's sugar — but in a form that our bodies don't convert into calories. Perfect? Not quite.
Researchers say findings may have important public health implications as vitamin supplements are relatively safe and cost-effective
Sarcoptic mange can leave southern hairy-nosed and bare-nosed wombats blind and deaf before eventually killing them
Annual vaccinations could be a thing of the past as scientists have successfully tested vaccines on animals infected with different strains of influenza
Remember winter, when everything was cold and grey? Right now, when all around is lush and green, the contrast couldn’t be greater. But is everything really as it seems? New research shows that we see things differently in winter compared with summer.
We now know how to turn fat cells into ones that burn calories as heat rather than store them – raising the prospect of a gene therapy for obesity
A growing body of research suggests that doctors' racial biases and other prejudices continue to affect the care patients received. Medical educators say self-awareness is an important first step.
A new study renews questions about how aggressively doctors should treat a very early form of breast cancer or pre-cancer.
Addyi gains US marketing licence after third attempt, but questions remain about its effectiveness, potential side-effects and the true need for the drug
Increasingly taken by healthy people to improve focus before exams, after a comprehensive review researchers say modafinil is safe in the short-term