At least ten newly identified genetic variants are associated with increased susceptibility to prostate cancer, according to three studies to be published online in Nature Genetics. These findings double the number of variants known to be associated with risk of prostate cancer, and, in the future, may allow predictions of high risk in particular individuals.
The three groups independently carried out genome-wide association studies of thousands of individuals with or without prostate cancer. Rosalind Eeles and colleagues identified seven loci that were significantly associated with the disease on chromosomes 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 19 and X. Stephen Chanock and colleagues report risk loci on chromosomes 7, 10 (two loci) and 11, as well as nine other loci showing suggestive association. Julius Gudmundsson's team reports risk loci on chromosomes 2 and X. Each group's findings were replicated in an independent population, and each confirmed previous susceptibility loci on chromosomes 8 and 17.
Although the specific genes that are affected by these variants have not yet been pinpointed, the authors of the studies note a few candidates. One of the risk variants on chromosome 10 is just upstream of MSMB, which encodes a protein that is produced in the prostate, and loss of MSMB expression is associated with recurrence of disease after prostatectomy. The variant on chromosome 19 is near KLK3, which encodes PSA, an enzyme that liquefies semen and is used as a standard serum marker for screening and disease monitoring.
Rosalind Eeles (The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK) Author paper 1
Stephen Chanock (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA) Author paper 2
Julius Gudmundsson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland) Author paper 3
Abstracts available online:
Abstract of Paper 1.
Abstract of Paper 2.
Abstract of Paper 3.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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