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Largest genetic study of prostate cancer in men of African descent finds new genetic risk factors

Researchers pooled data from 10 genome-wide association studies, virtually all of the existing data on genetic risk for prostate cancer in men of African ancestry for a meta-analysis. The data were collected in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean on 19,378 men with prostate cancer and 61,620 healthy controls.

The study identified nine new genetic risk factors for prostate cancer, seven of which are found either largely or exclusively in men of African ancestry. For the first time, researchers also found that genetic differences can help determine which men are most likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer.

A polygenic risk score composed of 278 genetic mutations linked to prostate cancer could identify men with higher risks of developing prostate cancer and
higher risks of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

“The ability to differentiate between the risk for aggressive and non-aggressive forms of the disease is of critical importance,” said Christopher Haiman, ScD, of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Until now, risk scores haven’t been able to do that.”

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