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NIH, Prostate Cancer Foundation Partner to Study Disease Aggressiveness in African Americans

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — The National Institutes of Health and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) announced today that they have partnered to investigate the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to aggressive prostate cancer in African-American men.

The PCF, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, plan to enroll up to 10,000 African-American men with prostate cancer in a study — dubbed Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Tumor Markers, and Social Stress, or RESPOND — to look at possible associations between aggressive prostate cancer and exposures to neighborhood/environmental stressors such as discrimination, early-life adversity, and segregation.

Trial participants will also provide DNA and tumor samples, which investigators will analyze to identify gene variants associated with aggressive disease. These variants will be further studied in the context of social and environmental factors.

The trial is being funded with $26.5 million from the 21st Century Cures Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics will perform genotyping for the study, and the Center for Inherited Disease Research at Johns Hopkins University will conduct DNA sequencing.

"Understanding why African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer than men of other racial and ethnic groups is a critical, unanswered question in cancer disparities research," NCI Director Ned Sharpless said in a statement. "This large collaborative study can help the cancer research community better understand and address these disparities."