ORLANDO, FL (April 4, 2011) Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among American men. Yet population-wide screening programs have not reduced the number of deaths from the disease. By focusing screening programs on the men who are at greatest risk for aggressive disease or diagnosis at a young age, researchers think they could improve mortality rates and personalize the screening approach. For that reason, scientists have been looking for genetic markers to help them identify exactly which men are at high risk and require regular screening. Now, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have found that two novel genetic markers are associated with earlier time to prostate cancer diagnosis among African American menand the markers are in a part of the genome that has only recently come under scientific study.
Veda Giri, MD, medical oncologist and director of Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment at Fox Chase, will present the findings at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 on Monday, April 4.
Small RNAs, called microRNAs (miRNAs), help regulate gene activity. And expression of these miRNAs can influence an individual's risk of cancer. Knowing this, Giri and her colleagues have been researching genetic variations in miRNA binding sites. In two genes, IL-16 and IL-18, they have now found variations associated with a two-fold or greater increased risk of early prostate cancer diagnosis in African American men who are undergoing screening.
"We have found some preliminary data supporting the idea that genetic variation in miRNA target sites can influence prostate cancer risk," says Giri. "If we confirm these data, then we might be able to use these sites, along with other known genetic variants, to help individualize prostate screening in the future."
Giri notes that although miRNAs were only discovered recently, their role in cancer susceptibility is being rapidly uncovered, probably because they control expre
|Contact: Diana Quattrone|
Fox Chase Cancer Center