Research highlight

Variants in prostate cancer

Nature Genetics

September 21, 2009

New genetic variants that are associated with increased risk of prostate cancer have been identified in four studies published online in this week's Nature Genetics.

Two studies led by Rosalind Eeles, Julius Gudmundsson and colleagues surveyed the genomes of thousands of men with prostate cancer, which is the second most common cancer in men and affects approximately 25 per 100,000 men worldwide. Together, these studies identified eight new genetic loci that are associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition, the studies report the identification of two new variants on 8q24 that confer risk of prostate cancer.

An area on 8q24 has been associated with breast, colon, and bladder cancer. Although this region contains no known protein-coding genes, the oncogene MYC is located next to this region. Douglas Easton and colleagues report a comprehensive analysis of 8q24 and identify two new regions in 8q24 that are associated with risk of prostate cancer. Meredith Yeager and colleagues also independently identified one of same new risk variants at 8q24 as Easton. Altogether, the studies emphasize the need for more research on the 8q24 locus, since future discoveries will likely be relevant to multiple types of cancer.

doi: 10.1038/ng.450

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