A Recent Discovery about Prostate Cancer in African-American Men

Prostate cancer is a disease that only affects men – it targets a gland in the male reproductive system.  Aside from skin cancer, it is the most common cancer among American males.

But here’s something you may not know: African-American men have a 60-percent higher incidence of prostate cancer than any other ethnic group.  They also have a 150 percent higher risk of dying from the disease.  (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

Why is this?

Prostate cancer strikes African-American men earlier and more aggressively.  Clearly, there is something going on at a biological level.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine carried out a detailed analysis of gene expression changes in 48 high-purity tumors from African-American men, using RNA extracted from cancer samples.

Their analysis revealed that 1,803 genes were differentially altered in the cancer samples.  One gene in particular – MNX1 – is upregulated to a greater degree in prostate cancer in African-American men, compared to European-American men.  This gene transforms cells by promoting the synthesis of fatty acids.

While MNX1 has been associated with carcinoma cell lines, this is the first study to link MNX1 to prostate cancer.  And while this gene is upregulated in all prostate cancers, the rate and extent is accelerated in African-American men.

The gene expression analysis was performed at Agilent’s Application Development Laboratory, using Agilent’s TapeStation system with the RNA ScreenTape assay and Agilent’s SurePrint Microarrays scanned on the SureScan system.

For Research Use Only.  Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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