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Research Projects

Prostate Cancer Risk in South African Men

Prostate Cancer Risk in South African Men

Prof Riana Bornman

Prof Riana Bornman

Title of the project

Prostate cancer risk in South African men.

Project Description

Prostate cancer globally has one of the highest ethnic-based associations for any human cancer and population-based studies showed that African-Americans are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer (and at a younger age) and 2.5 times more likely to die from prostate cancer compared with European-Americans. The most significant risk factors for prostate cancer namely older age, family history of prostate cancer and African ancestry, suggest that both environmental and genetic factors are likely contributors to susceptibility and disease course.

Markers of chronic inflammation are significantly associated with cancer in general and with prostate cancer in particular. Infections play a critical role in cancer development and contribute to 15-20% of all human cancers worldwide, but even more within Africa (~26%). Proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA), possibly a result of pathogenic infection, is a common condition in the prostates of older men and may promote prostate cancer development. There is a definable genetic pathway from PIA to high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) and to prostate cancer. Epidemiological data support associations between prostate cancer risk, prostatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs); additional suggestive risks were increased number of sexual partners, a decreased risk associated with an increased number of ejaculations (suggesting pathogen clearance), increased risk associated with a history of asthma (a chronic inflammatory disease) and the use of asthma medications, and a decreased risk associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

We hypothesized that bacterial pathogenic agents could be contributors to prostate cancer, against an inherited genetic profile of the host inflammatory network.

We will address both biological relevance and generate data with minimal European genetic diversity within men of African descent.



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