Although American men of European ancestry represent the largest population of patients with prostate cancer, men of African ancestry are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, with higher prevalence and worse outcomes. These racial disparities in prostate cancer are due to multiple factors, but variations in genomic susceptibility such as SNP may play an important role in determining cancer aggressiveness and treatment outcome. Using public databases, we have identified a prostate cancer susceptibility SNP at an intronic enhancer of the neural precursor expressed, developmentally downregulated 9 (NEDD9) gene, which is strongly associated with increased risk of patients with African ancestry. This genetic variation increased expression of NEDD9 by modulating the chromatin binding of certain transcription factors, including ERG and NANOG. Moreover, NEDD9 displayed oncogenic activity in prostate cancer cells, promoting prostate cancer tumor growth and metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Together, our study provides novel insights into the genetic mechanisms driving prostate cancer racial disparities.

Significance:

A prostate cancer susceptibility genetic variation in NEDD9, which is strongly associated with the increased risk of patients with African ancestry, increases NEDD9 expression and promotes initiation and progression of prostate cancer.

See related commentary by Mavura and Huang, p. 3764

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