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Study Identifies Multiple Genetic Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

h the predictive strength varying depending on the variant. Because almost all the risk factors were of highest frequency in African Americans, they may contribute to the known higher rate of prostate cancer among African Americans compared with other U.S. populations. The predictive power of the variants may also be useful in the prevention of prostate cancer. "Clinical testing of these genetic variants may help us identify men who should be prioritized for early prostate cancer screening and prevention efforts," says Reich.

The study also produced novel biological findings. It revealed that each genetic contributor to prostate cancer risk is located outside of the coding regions of genes, in regions previously designated as junk DNA. "The discovery of multiple, independent genetic changes that are in close proximity to one another, but outside of any known gene, suggests that these results may also teach us about novel molecular mechanisms whereby DNA changes can alter risk of disease," says Brian Henderson, the paper's senior co-author and dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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