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DNA analysis could explain increased risk of prostate cancer in Black men

By February 21, 2024No Comments

Scientists have discovered genetic differences which explain why Black men are more prone to prostate cancer compared to other ethnicities, leading to hopes that a test can be developed which identifies those at elevated risk.

Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among men in Britain, accounting for approximately 52,300 cases and 12,000 fatalities annually in the UK. Black men exhibit double the likelihood of diagnosis and are 2.5 times more likely to succumb to the disease compared to White men.

The rationale behind this inequality remains unclear, though variances in levels of a protein termed the androgen receptor are under scrutiny. While earlier investigations hinted at elevated androgen receptor levels in Black men, the precise cause has hitherto eluded explanation.

A tool which detected differences in the regulatory areas of genes was employed to analyse DNA from more than 75,000 people from diverse populations worldwide. Finally, mutations were identified in three regions of DNA that control androgen receptor levels.

Hundreds of other mutations were discovered across other diverse pools of subjects and could, ultimately, result in a test which could determine a man’s risk of developing the disease.

A longstanding problem is that DNA analysed is predominantly from White men, which limits the capacity to better understand why Black men possess an increased risk.

Ben Kemp