Saturday, July 29, 2017
African-American patients have increased gene mutations in tobacco-related tumors, study finds
African-Americans typically have worse outcomes from smoking-related cancers than whites. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that African-Americans have an increased mutation rate in several genes, including the best known in tobacco-related tumors, TP53. "We know TP53 mutation happens in 55% of all cancer patients," said the study's lead author, Wei Zhang, Ph.D., Hanes and Willis Family Professor in Cancer at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist. "In our study, we found that the African-American population had close to a 70% mutation rate. This data suggests that increases in TP53 mutation in African-Americans may be responsible for the observed resistance to chemotherapy and a poorer prognosis overall." The scientists found a significantly increased mutation rate in the TP53 gene in the African-American groups studied. The researchers also found that a number of genes - including those that repair DNA damage and remodel chromatin - mutated at higher frequencies in the African-American cancer patients.