Saturday, October 22, 2016
A team of scientists has identified MNX1 as a new oncogene - a gene than can cause cancer - that is more active in African American prostate cancer than in European American prostate cancer
The finding suggests that genetic factors can contribute, at last in part, to the higher incidence of prostate cancer among African American men compared with men of other ethnic groups. "African Americans have about one-and-a-half times the incidence and twice the mortality associated with prostate cancer of European Americans, and the reasons for this are not clear," said senior author Dr. Michael Ittmann, professor of pathology & immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey Department of VA Medical Center. Most scientists think that some of the health disparities among ethnic groups can be explained by differences in biology. The scientists discovered that, compared with normal prostate tissues, both African American and European American prostate cancer have MNX1 genes that are more active and produce more of the MNX1 protein. However, MNX1 is significantly more active in African American prostate cancer than in European American prostate cancer. In summary, in African American prostate cancer androgen and the AKT signaling pathway can increase the activity of MNX1, which in turn increases lipid metabolism. Increased lipid metabolism is a hallmark of aggressive prostate cancer, which is more common in African American men.