Study Identifies New Gene Mutations Linked to Colorectal Cancer in African-Americans

Medical Xpress, January 12, 2015

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have identified new gene mutations unique to colon cancers in African Americans–the population with the highest incidence and death rates of any group for this disease.

This discovery–namely, that colorectal cancers appear different on a molecular level in African Americans–offers new hope for these patients. With this groundbreaking knowledge, scientists now will seek to develop treatments that target the distinct nature of the disease in African Americans–and, they hope, begin to reduce the devastation disproportionately wrought on this population.

The findings, published in the Jan. 12 edition of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), only became possible because of technological advances in gene sequencing and computational analysis. The study that revealed this invaluable information ultimately involved review of 1.5 billion bits of data.

“This milestone study builds on our previous genetic research on colorectal cancer,” said Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, corresponding author on the study, and principal investigator of the $11.3 million federal gastrointestinal cancers research program (GI SPORE) that includes this project. {snip}

Announced in 2011, this GI SPORE program is one of just five in the country. Markowitz, Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and a medical oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, included studies of the disease’s behavior in minority patients as part of his team’s original grant application. The disparity between colorectal cancer rates in African Americans and other groups has long existed; the most recent federal statistics, for example, put age-adjusted incidence at 46.8 cases for every 100,000 African Americans, and 38.1 cases for every 100,000 Caucasian Americans. Yet scientists have struggled to determine what factors–biological, economic, environmental, or others–account for this disparity.

{snip}

One of the lead researchers on the project was senior author Joseph E. Willis, MD, associate professor of pathology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, director of tissue management, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Vice Chair of Pathology for Clinical Affairs at UH Case Medical Center.

“We wondered if colon cancer is the same disease molecularly in African Americans individuals as it is in Caucasian individuals. Or could colon cancer be the same disease behaving differently in one population compared to another,” he said. “This study gave us our answer. Colon cancer in African American patients is a different disease molecularly.”

The scientists made their discovery by using DNA sequencing to compare 103 colorectal cancer samples from African American patients with 129 colorectal cancer samples from Caucasian patients, all of whom had received care at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland. The scientists examined 50 million bits of data from 20,000 genes in every cancer.

From these extensive data, investigators first uncovered 20 new gene mutations in the colorectal cancers of African Americans that never before had been seen in patients with this disease. Investigators then confirmed that 15 of these gene mutations preferentially affected the African American patients. Just over 40 percent of cancers in African Americans carried mutations in one or more these genes. In addition, the scientists found these mutations were 3.3-fold more common in African American cancers than in colorectal cancer tissues from Caucasians.

The investigators particularly zeroed in on mutations in 2 of these 15 genes, EPHA6 and FLCN, detected exclusively in African American patients. EPHA6 belongs to a family of proteins linked to causing cancer; this study marks the first time this gene has been implicated in colorectal cancer. In addition, individuals born with FLCN mutations are known to be susceptible to certain cancers. EPHA6 gene mutations were detected in 5.8 percent of colorectal cancers of African American patients, and FLCN gene were in 2.91 percent.

{snip}

This discovery–namely, that colorectal cancers appear different on a molecular level in African Americans–offers new hope for these patients. With this groundbreaking knowledge, scientists now will seek to develop treatments that target the distinct nature of the disease in African Americans–and, they hope, begin to reduce the devastation disproportionately wrought on this population.

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  • Reynardine

    …butt…butt…I thought race was only skin deep!

    • propagandaoftruth

      They also eat like idiots.

      • Reynardine

        Speaking of horrible eating, do you remember that affirmative action thing with Dominos?

        Apparently, blacks have certain skin conditions that others hardly have, so it’s racist to deny employment to a black man with a beard, even though as a food establishment, beards are a liability.

        Negro beard hair on your pepperoni? Oh Yes We Did.

        • propagandaoftruth

          How to distinguish a negro beard hair from a pube? I have no answer nor the desire to know.

        • dd121

          I’ve never eaten at Domino’s. Thanks to your post, never will.

          • For good pizza, make your own. I use Wal Mart flour tortillas for the crusts here: quick, cheap and easy.

          • Frank_DeScushin

            No offense, but flour tortillas and canned spaghetti sauce does not sound like the foundation of a good pizza.

          • How about olive oil and pressed garlic instead of marinara sauce, with shrimp, black and green olives, other mixed veggies and feta cheese?

          • Frank_DeScushin

            Now you’re talking, Michael. If you serve beer too, I’ll be right over.

          • Cid Campeador

            NOW you’re talkin’. Excellent. Disregard my previous post.

          • Cid Campeador

            Sorry Michael, . I have to agree with Frank.
            Garlic, Olive oil and imagination is all it takes.

          • MikeofAges

            You add spices to the spaghetti sauce. Done it myself, but I make my own crust. Comes out thin and crunchy.

          • Samuel Hathaway

            You should at least try out the Domino’s in Lilburn, GA. The staff, so far as I have seen, are all WHITE. Been there twice this month to pick up pizzas for our clan on New Years and again yesterday.

          • dd121

            My favorite pizza is Arris pizza in Jefferson City, Missouri. Last ate there about three years ago. The sausage pizza, made with a Greek sausage is just over the moon.
            If Question Diversity is reading this, I’m sure he’ll confirm.

        • Samuel Hathaway

          Wait a minute..that’s news to me about the skin condition that might make it dangerous for bluegums with beards to work at Dominos… I went there just yesterday and all the employees were white. they were polite, fast, efficient and actually acted like they enjoyed their jobs.

    • Sick of it

      After talking to a co-worker about such things today, I realized that most people really don’t know that much about biology or the structural or molecular differences between races. Most just go by what they can see – Phenotypical traits and behavior. Ignorance is strength…for our enemies.

    • Rurik

      Nature is rayciss.

    • Cid Campeador

      Damn. I wish I had said that first. I was thinking that as I read the article.
      Great minds think alike. I also like the play on words.

  • [Guest]

    Black colons matter.

    • Reynardine

      Glands up, don’t poop.

      • propagandaoftruth

        Jenkum in, jenkum out.

        • Reynardine

          Reprocessed jenkum is higher quality.

      • Caucasoid88

        Ah, thanks for the chuckle.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    Gurlfren… weez jus’ got ta lay awf all that fr-eyed chicken, chitlins, greens smothahed in fatback and grease, buttamilik, sawsage, fr-eyed okra, ‘n such.

    • Reynardine

      Oh lawdy we cants get anything good ta eats cause whitey be putting food deserts eberywhere. Why can’t we gets dat healthy white people food like Applebees and Olive Garden?

      • Samuel Hathaway

        It be cawz die-bee-tees is duh fawlt uh-duh white man ‘fo puttin’ all dat dee-zurts in front of us black folk.

      • MikeofAges

        Food deserts? Inner city markets likely have severe security problems. High theft rates. Other issues. Markets have to be located on the borders between different zones. Those who cannot travel may be out luck. Not their fault, perhaps. But the fault of the community of their kind. Not to mention, if a middle aged black woman who works in an office downtown has to walk in the dark from the bus stop to her apartment with a bag of groceries, ain’t whitey gonna be jumping her on the way home. Inner city streets are a no go zone after 1730 hours even for the people who live there.

        • Reynardine

          While you do have a fairly convincing argument that explains the paucity of black healthful eating, the selection of foods by the black community definitely leans towards the tastier, less healthful fair, as evidenced by EBT transactions.

          Not only that, but city food deserts are counted by “no supermarkets within a mile,” yet rural or suburban food deserts are counted as “no supermarkets within 10 miles.” Technically I live in a food desert, and have for most of my life, yet I’ve walked several miles to pick up groceries.

  • MekongDelta69

    You seen any medical procedures tailored to Whites lately?

    Nah. Me neither…

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Oh! they jus tryin’ to close gap ‘tween black ‘n white… cayn’t have no inequality, that would be hate crime, boyfren. It dudn’t matta if white folkses have to pay up sugah… it all be fo’ cibbil rights… unless you be ray-ciss.

    • Sick of it

      Common white diseases, like connective tissue disease, are rarely studied and given no real funding. Some of the rare ones like brittle bone disease get a bit of attention from time to time.

    • DD-762

      Vasectomies.

  • HJ11

    Some of us belive that saying non-Whites, and this case Blacks, are not only not the same race as Whites, but they are not the same species.

    I’m not kidding. What one has to understand is that “of the same species” largely rests on the fact that Whites and non-Whites can bear children together who aren’t sterile. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule, and I repeat: Some of us believe that Whites and non-Whites belong to different species.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      I’m not a believer in evolution, but when you see the side profile of a black that could be mistaken for the silhouette of an APE, you gotta wonder if evolution exists on that side of the species.

      • HJ11

        Not a believer in evolution? That’s too bad, because evolution is real and it is the reason we must not mate with non-Whites–that way lies devolution.

        • Samuel Hathaway

          Evolution or not, Obama is the only reason anyone really needs to get in their heads that mating with blacks is inappropriate.

    • I believe blacks and non-blacks are separate species. The First Telepromptoid In Chief wouldn’t like that. What the hell; it’s not like he’d give me a pardon, anyway.

      • dd121

        I like that. Can we name the new species “Telepromptoid sapiens”?

        • One of the really cool things about going crazy is that one gets to make up one’s own words.

          As for the species, I prefer “Bongopithicus oogabooga”.

        • Rurik

          If you check a Latin dictionary, you might want to lose that “sapiens”.

    • Sick of it

      I disagree to the extent that they were once far more different from us…until we began to mate with their ancestors.

    • EiSkogsNisse

      Oh there’s no doubt about it. Whites are not the same species as Negros which is why I also refer to miscegenation with them as what it is: bestiality.

    • ElComadreja

      I’m in complete agreement. We’re further apart than dogs and wolves who can also produce fertile offspring.

  • dd121

    What a shame. I’ll light an extra candle.

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      Not worth for blacks. Light one for whites who are dying thanks to blacks and muslims.

  • Vito Powers

    And I always thought Blacks were perfect a**holes …

  • TheCogitator

    We all know this cannot be true. Race is a social construct.

    • Evidently nobody informed colon cancer of this “fact”. Since cancer has now been identified as “racist”, I think it behooves the liberal Hollyweirdos to organize a national boycott of cancer. The $PLC, ADL, NAACP and La Raza could join in.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    Geez, blacks get the diseases and whites have to cure them. When will this ever end? I guess they need to ask an african withdoctor to cure them instead of whites.

    • ElComadreja

      If it wasn’t for the misguided efforts of whites that see these beasts as human the problem would have taken care of itself long ago.

  • Due to the evidence from my occasional bouts with iritis, I can confidently expect rheumatoid arthritis someday. I also look much younger than my 48 years, and am almost never sick. My mother, sister and I each have one weird, specific, serious allergy: alloe vera, scallops and macadamia nuts respectively. Genes again. This shouldn’t be complicated to anyone brighter than a small appliance bulb.

    • Reynardine

      My condolences, sir. Macadamia nuts are one of life’s great little pleasures.