The genetics of prostate cancer risk among African males


A newly published study from a group of researchers at the Garvan Institute in Scotland has again confirmed the apparent genetic risk for some forms of prostate cancer among men of African ethnic origin.

Jaratlerdsiri et al. (or see this commentary in Cancer Therapy Advisor) have shown that, using whole-genome sequencing to carry out a direct study-matched comparison between African- and European-derived, treatment-naïve, high-risk tumors from 15 cases of prostate cancer, there was a 1.8 times higher level of small, somatic gene variants in the African- as opposed to the European-derived tumors, which rose to a fourfold higher level when compared to published, tumor-matched data.

In other words, the African men with high-risk disease had significantly higher tumor mutational burden and a genetic risk than comparable European men.

We have known for a while that African-American and Afro-Caribbean men tend to have a higher tumor mutational burden and a greater risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality than any other racial groups, but this new research appears to confirm a similar risk level among sub-Sarahan Africans as well.

These data will need to be confirmed in further studies, but they do have long-term implications for the treatment of prostate cancer in Africa, especially if the life-expectancy of men in Africa starts to rise significantly over time.

3 Responses

  1. I guess this sinks the slave ship hypothesis.

  2. Last sentence:

    “especially if the life-expectancy of men in Africa starts to risk significantly over time.”

    I assume you mean:

    “especially if the life-expectancy of men in Africa starts to rise significantly over time.”

  3. Yes. … Now corrected.

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