Grants - Translational Grants - Florida - 2017

Jong Park, Ph.D.

Funded by the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund

American men of African descent (AAM) are known to experience greater incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer (PCa) than their Caucasian (EAM) counterparts. The determinants of this high rate of PCa in men of African descent remain unresolved. The genomic and epigenomic contribution to PCa disparity has been well established with the identification of significant racial differences in DNA methylation level and expression of various genes. In the last decade a number of biomarker-driven predictive tools have been developed for clinical use to aid in PCa treatment decisions. These biomarkers show promise as predictors of aggressive and lethal PCa with potential clinical utility. However, these predictive tools were developed mostly from EAM specimens. There is a lack of data on the relevance of these biomarkers on observed increased aggressiveness and lethal PCa among AAM. We and others have provided evidence suggesting that AAM with aggressive phenotypes have significantly different methylation level and expression of many PCa biomarkers compared to EAM, suggesting that these may be ideal prognostic biomarkers for AAM. Therefore, comparative evaluation of biomarkers for aggressive PCa in AAM is imperative, and carries the inherent potential to elucidate the pathogenesis of aggressive and lethal PCa in this at-risk population. The focus of this proposal is to unravel the epigenetic and genomic predictors of aggressive and lethal PCa in AAM. The implications of our proposed study have immense clinical relevance in this era of personalized medicine for the at-risk population of AAM.

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