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.
The health of infants is being put at risk as anti-vaccine groups discourage uptake of vitamin K for newborns, says Amanda Marcott
The lead in human teeth holds clues about where a person grew up and can help criminal investigators and archaeologists working with old or decomposed corpses, according to a University of Florida researcher.
West African countries are trying to contain the deadly disease
The Great War helped create the influenza pandemic of 1918, which eventually brought an early end to the Great War.
In 1986, a two-and-a-half year-old girl named Michelle Funk fell into a stream and drowned. By the time paramedics found her, she hadn’t been breathing for more than an hour. Her heart was stopped. In other words, she was dead.
Political unrest in Pakistan has been a gift to the poliovirus, with 99 cases reported there so far this year. But Rotary International, which has already vaccinated 2 billion children in 122 countries, is hitting back hard
UK scientists model the physical attributes that underpin our social judgements about strangers.
A new study suggests that using media technology may be the wrong way to try to unwind at the end of a hard day
Arizona death row inmate Joseph Wood took almost 2 hours to die – why is a drug combination is being experimented with in the death chamber?
Scientists have discovered what may be the most common virus in people worldwide. The tiny critter doesn't make us sick but may be involved in obesity and diabetes.