Posted on January 26, 2012

Differential Gene Expression Between African American and European American Colorectal Cancer Patients

B. Jovov et al., Pub Med, January 19, 2012


The incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC) is higher in African Americans (AAs) than other ethnic groups in the U. S., but reasons for the disparities are unknown. We performed gene expression profiling of sporadic CRCs from AAs vs. European Americans (EAs) to assess the contribution to CRC disparities. We evaluated the gene expression of 43 AA and 43 EA CRC tumors matched by stage and 40 matching normal colorectal tissues using the Agilent human whole genome 4x44K cDNA arrays. Gene and pathway analyses were performed using Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM), Ten-fold cross validation, and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). SAM revealed that 95 genes were differentially expressed between AA and EA patients at a false discovery rate of ≤5%. Using IPA we determined that most prominent disease and pathway associations of differentially expressed genes were related to inflammation and immune response. Ten-fold cross validation demonstrated that following 10 genes can predict ethnicity with an accuracy of 94%: CRYBB2, PSPH, ADAL, VSIG10L, C17orf81, ANKRD36B, ZNF835, ARHGAP6, TRNT1 and WDR8. Expression of these 10 genes was validated by qRT-PCR in an independent test set of 28 patients (10 AA, 18 EA). Our results are the first to implicate differential gene expression in CRC racial disparities and indicate prominent difference in CRC inflammation between AA and EA patients. Differences in susceptibility to inflammation support the existence of distinct tumor microenvironments in these two patient populations.