Gene tags prostate cancer in African Americans

By finding a link between prostate cancer and the IL-16 gene in African-American men, researchers have confirmed another potential marker for this. While there was already a connection with the gene and European men, the connection with other ethnic groups had not been confirmed. The research was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The team screened the genetic makeup of tumors from African-American men and found mutations in the same gene, but at different locations, which could change the function of the IL-16 protein.

"This provides us with a new potential biomarker for prostate cancer," says principal investigator Rick Kittles, an associate professor of medicine in hematology/oncology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "This confirms the importance of IL-16 in prostate cancer and leads us in a new direction."

The next step is to look further at the role of IL-16 in prostate cancer and to confirm the role of the gene, either as a biomarker or as a target for new drugs.

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