Biological Factors that Drive Prostate Tumors
Are there biological factors that may drive prostate tumors more aggressively in African American men than European-American men?
Akinso: Are there biological factors that may drive prostate tumor more aggressively in African American men than European-American men? Well it's a possibility. Researchers, at the National Cancer Institute, identified differences in gene expression, the degree to which individual genes are turned on or off, between African American and European-American men that show the existence of distinct tumor microenviroments, which are the areas that includes the tumor and surrounding non-cancerous tissue, in these two patient groups. Dr. Tiffany Wallace, lead author of the study, and her colleagues analyzed differences in gene expression in prostate tumor from 33 African-American and 36 European-American men.
Wallace: Well there's a huge health disparity that's associated with prostate cancer. Social economic factors do contribute to some of these differences but they don't completely explain the increased aggressiveness, mortality rates that exist for African American men when dealing with prostate cancer. And so we investigated the hypothesis that there are differences in tumor biology that exist between African American men and European American men.
Akinso: Researchers analyzed the expression of genes in non-cancerous prostate tissue from African-American and European-American men. They found that differences in the expression of genes related to immune system function were more prominent in the tumor microenvironment than in non-cancerous prostate tissue. Dr. Wallace talks about what the results suggest and the implications of the research.
Wallace: Well it seems that there could be differences in tumor biology that can contribute to the increased aggressiveness and incidence in prostate cancer specifically with the African American population. As far as implications for this research, although these are preliminary we think that the differences in immune response could have important implications for prostate cancer therapy approaches.
Akinso: She adds that in future studies, researchers hope to investigate why gene expression profiles in prostate tumors from African-American men contain changes associated with immune responses. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Tiffany Wallace
Topic: Prostate Cancer