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Genetic Hitchhiking and Population Bottlenecks Contribute to Prostate Cancer Disparities in MADCaP

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Joseph Lachance, Ali J Berens, Matthew E B Hansen, Andrew K Teng, Sarah A Tishkoff, Timothy R Rebbeck

First published: May 2018

PMID: 29438991 PMCID: PMC5932264 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1550


Prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in African and African American men are greatly elevated compared with other ethnicities. This disparity is likely explained by a combination of social, environmental, and genetic factors. A large number of susceptibility loci have been reported by genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but the contribution of these loci to prostate cancer disparities is unclear. Here, we investigated the population structure of 68 previously reported GWAS loci and calculated genetic disparity contribution statistics to identify SNPs that contribute the most to differences in prostate cancer risk across populations. By integrating GWAS results with allele frequency data, we generated genetic risk scores for 45 African and 19 non-African populations. Tests of natural selection were used to assess why some SNPs have large allele frequency differences across populations. We report that genetic predictions of prostate cancer risks are highest for West African men and lowest for East Asian men. These differences may be explained by the out-of-Africa bottleneck and natural selection. A small number of loci appear to drive elevated prostate cancer risks in men of African descent, including rs9623117, rs6983267, rs10896449, rs10993994, and rs817826. Although most prostate cancer-associated loci are evolving neutrally, there are multiple instances where alleles have hitchhiked to high frequencies with linked adaptive alleles. For example, a protective allele at 2q37 appears to have risen to high frequency in Europe due to selection acting on pigmentation. Our results suggest that evolutionary history contributes to the high rates of prostate cancer in African and African American men.Significance: A small number of genetic variants cause an elevated risk of prostate cancer in men of West African descent. Cancer Res; 78(9); 2432-43. ©2018 AACR.

©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.

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