|NCI Releases Preliminary Data on Genetic Susceptibility
for Prostate Cancer
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes
of Health, has released new data from the Cancer Genetic Markers
of Susceptibility (CGEMS) study on prostate cancer. This information
could help identify genetic factors that influence the disease
and will be integral to the discovery and development of new, targeted
therapies. This is also the first public release of a whole genome
association study of cancer — such studies examine the entire
genome, with no assumptions about which genetic alterations cause
“Knowing which genes are most likely to lead to cancer will greatly
enhance our ability to diagnosis the disease at its earliest stages,
as well as develop therapies to treat cancer when it is most vulnerable
to attack,” said NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D.
Launched in February 2006, CGEMS is the largest comprehensive
initiative to identify genetic risk factors for breast and prostate
cancers, which are two of the most frequently diagnosed cancers
in the United States. By finding genetic variations that differ
in frequency between patient and control groups, researchers can
identify the location of multiple inherited genes that increase
or decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
“The immediate sharing of this data with scientists in the cancer
research community will allow individual researchers to compare
existing and developing information with CGEMS data to identify
new genes associated with increased prostate cancer risk,” said
NCI Deputy Director for Advanced Technologies and Strategic Partnerships
Anna D. Barker, Ph.D. “The CGEMS database will provide information
we need to develop new strategies for the early detection and prevention
of a cancer that takes the lives of nearly 27,000 American men
The genetic samples of prostate cancer came from more than 1,100
men with the disease and 1,100 men who have not developed prostate
cancer. The samples include more than 680 million individual genotypes,
or genetic markers, including 310,000 genetic variants.
“CGEMS represents one of the first of a new generation of studies
made possible by the Human Genome Project,” added Gilles Thomas,
M.D., Ph.D., lead scientist of CGEMS. “Through immediate sharing
of data, we hope to encourage other teams to make similar studies
in cancer and other diseases rapidly accessible to speed progress
in understanding the inherited causes of cancer.”
Prostate cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related death
in men. In 2006, there will be an estimated 234,460 new prostate
cancer cases in the United States.
“NCI is leveraging its resources to make this valuable dataset
immediately accessible to all interested scientists,” said Stephen
Chanock, M.D., director of the NCI Core Genetics Facility and co-director
Similar data on breast cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer-related
death in women, are now being generated and are anticipated to
be released in early 2007. When the data is released, the CGEMS
database will contain close to 2.5 billion genotypes. All data
from the CGEMS study will be available through NCI’s caBIG™ (Cancer
Biomedical Informatics Gri ), at http://caIntegrator.nci.nih.gov/cgems/.
“CGEMS represents the best of collaborative science, with geneticists
and epidemiologists pooling resources to make publicly available
the first database of inherited genetic variants associated with
a major cancer,” said David Hunter, M.D., an NCI Eminent Scholar
who is co-director of CGEMS and professor of cancer prevention
at the Harvard School of Public Health.
For more information on NCI’s Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility
(CGEMS) initiative, please visit http://cgems.cancer.gov.
For more information about cancer or the National Cancer Institute,
please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call
NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4 CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
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Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.