Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Research has discovered a genetic mutation in African-American men with a family history of prostate cancer who are at increased risk for the disease
Researchers have identified an inheritable genetic defect in the receptor for the male hormone, androgen (testosterone), that may contribute to the development of prostate cancer and its progression. Scientific reports linking inheritable androgen receptor mutations to prostate cancer in Caucasians are rare, and this is the first one that focuses on the African-American population. Scientists discovered this genetic change by testing DNA extracted from white blood cells of African-American and Caucasian men from Louisiana who had a proven medical history of prostate cancer in their families. They detected this mutation only in African-American men with prostate cancer. The researchers believe that this mutation increases the risk of the development and progression of prostate cancer. African-American men have a higher incidence and death rate from prostate cancer, as well as clinically more aggressive disease than Caucasians. Between 2001 and 2005, the prostate cancer incidence rate was 59% higher in African-American men. African-American men also have the highest mortality rate for prostate cancer of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. The death rate for prostate cancer is 2.4 times higher in African-American men than white men in the United States.