Number of Genetic Variants Linked to Prostate Cancer Increased from 77 To 100

Fremont, California (EastBayDaily) — A major international study has identified 23 new genetic variants that are associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, according to researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) and their colleagues. With this new study, there are now 100 genetic variants linked to prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the U.S.

Focusing on the top 100 variants, the research team estimated that the top ten percent of men in the highest risk group had a risk of developing prostate cancer that is nearly three times higher than average. The top one percent of men in this high-risk subset had a risk of the disease almost six times higher than average, the researchers found.

To identify genetic susceptibility, the researchers analyzed 43,303 prostate cancer cases and 43,737 controls from various studies of European, African, Japanese and Latino population groups. From this combined population, the team located 16 new genetic markers associated with prostate cancer risk among the European men, including one variant that is associated with risk of early-onset disease. They also found seven new genetic markers in men from all of the groups — African, Japanese, Latino and European.

“Our scientific team contributed to this important collaborative effort through our large-scale prostate studies across multiracial groups, including Hispanics, African Americans and Africans,” said Ann Hsing, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at CPIC and one of the study’s authors.

By sharing DNA samples and data from these minority groups, Dr. Hsing, along with CPIC scientists and co-authors Esther John, Ph.D. and Lisa Chu, Ph.D., helped facilitate the international consortium, involving nearly 90,000 subjects, that led to identification of the new genetic variants.

One-third of the inherited origins of prostate cancer in European men can now be explained, the researchers noted. The study was published recently in the journal Nature Genetics. The work was funded equally by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK and the European Union.

The project was led by scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Cambridge, UK; and the University of Southern California, with more than 90 research institutions participating. In addition to CPIC, they include Johns Hopkins University, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Stanford Cancer Institute, the University of California San Francisco, the Mayo Clinic, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, to name just a few.

CPIC actively participates in large-scale consortium studies and partners with researchers in the U.S., Canada, Africa and China to further evaluate the role of genetics in prostate cancer, Dr. Hsing noted.

About the Cancer Prevention Institute of California The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) is the nation’s premier organization dedicated to preventing cancer and to reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented. CPIC tracks patterns of cancer throughout the entire population and identifies those at risk for developing cancer. Its research scientists are leaders in investigating the causes of cancer in large populations to advance the development of prevention-focused interventions. CPIC’s innovative cancer prevention research and education programs, together with the work of the Stanford Cancer Institute, deliver a comprehensive arsenal for defeating cancer. For more information, visit


Jana Cuiper