Two variants on chromosome 17 confer risk of prostate cancer, one of which also protects against type 2 diabetes, suggests an article online in Nature Genetics. Although epidemiological studies have noted an inverse relationship between type 2 diabetes and risk of prostate cancer, this paper provides the first genetic evidence to support a link between susceptibility to the two diseases.
Julius Gudmundsson, Kari Stefansson and colleagues initially carried out a genome-wide association study of prostate cancer in men from Iceland. Based on previous work suggesting that a particular region on chromosome 17 harbours risk variants, they followed up with association studies of men from three other populations of European descent. Two variants showed strong association with prostate cancer, one within the gene TCF2 (the other is not obviously associated with a gene). As mutations in TCF2 have been reported in individuals with a rare hereditary form of diabetes, the authors carried out additional association studies of individuals with the more common type 2 diabetes from seven populations of European, Asian and African ancestry. They found a modest but consistent association of the TCF2 variant with protection against type 2 diabetes (approximately 10% lower risk compared with healthy controls). The authors suggest that TCF2 may affect a metabolic or hormonal pathway that independently modulates the risk of prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Kari Stefansson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Julius Gudmundsson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Edward Farmer (Director of Corporate Communication, deCODE genetics Inc)
Berglind Olafsdottir (Communications, deCODE genetics Inc)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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