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Genetic differences point to ethnic and racial disparities in colorectal cancer risk
Date:11/28/2007

ATLANTA Risk of developing colorectal cancer is known to differ across ethnic and racial groups, and now an analysis of 26 studies, involving over 25,000 participants shows that some of these disparities might be explained by distinct patterns of genetic inheritance. A team of researchers, led by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh, present their findings today in Atlanta at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, being held November 27-30.

The researchers found that people who have two T copies of the gene that metabolizes folate, a chemical needed to produce and maintain new cells, are 19 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than are individuals with two C copies of the gene.

By using individual data collected through the Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens study, a collaborative pooled analysis based at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and begun in 1997, they were able to look at genetic inheritance in different racial and ethnic groups. The investigators found that the odds of individuals developing colorectal cancer with two T genes versus two C genes was 31 percent less in Asians, 8 percent less in Caucasians, and 4 percent more in African-Americans, although results were only statistically significant in the Asian population. Conversely, Latinos who inherited one copy of each gene instead of two C genes had a 20 percent higher risk of developing the cancer. However, this result was not statistically significant.

This analysis shows that homozygosity for the T copy of this gene may be protective in different degrees against colorectal cancer in some populations but not in others, said lead investigator, Mary A. Garza, Ph.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Center for Minority Health in the University of Pittsburghs Graduate School of Public Health.

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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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