Mechanism Affecting Risk of Prostate Ca

A research group at Biocenter Oulu in Finland has identified a mechanism that initiates a genetic program that ups the risk of prostate cancer metastasis. The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics in January 2014.

A release from the Academy of Finland notes that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men worldwide.

The release explains that the human genome is mainly identical throughout the human population but small that individual variations or polymorphisms do exist. These variations are known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP). The team used DNA samples from tens of thousands of prostate cancer patients and healthy men forcomparative genetic studies called genome-wide association studies. The researchers identified dozens of SNPs associated with the risk of prostate cancer. However, because most of these SNPs are not found in the protein-coding regions of the genome, finding the genes that contribute to the risk of prostate cancer is difficult. For this reason, the question of how these SNPs lead to a risk of prostate cancer has not yet been answered.

The research for this international and multidisciplinary study was led by Junior Investigator Gonghong Wei, with a team of scientists from several universities and research institutes. These included three universities in Finland (Oulu, Tampere and Helsinki), Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Fudan University in China. 

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