International collaboration led by Keck School of Medicine of USC researchers identifies new genetic variants indicating susceptibility to prostate cancer

September 15, 2014

Contact: Leslie Ridgeway at (323) 442-2823 or

LOS ANGELES — An international study co-led by Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) scientists and researchers in the United Kingdom has revealed 23 new genetic susceptibility locations indicating risk for prostate cancer.

The data study, analyzing more than 87,000 individuals of European, African, Japanese and Latino ancestry, is the largest of its kind and is the first that combines multiple studies across different ethnic populations.

“The goal of this research is to identify regions of the genome that contribute susceptibility to prostate cancer that could be used for understanding a man’s future risk of developing this disease,” said principal investigator Christopher Haiman, Sc.D., professor of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This research also emphasizes the importance of common genetic variation in the etiology of prostate cancer, and the importance of large-scale international genetics consortia.”

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men, behind skin cancer. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer and more than 233,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2014.

Past genome-wide association studies identified 77 variants associated with prostate cancer risk. The additional 23 variants found in the new study “give us another piece in the puzzle,” Haiman said, and new targets for researchers looking into the causes of prostate cancer.

The combined studies that are part of this research have been conducted around the world over the past seven years. The research is chiefly funded by the NCI GAME-ON Consortium, formed to encourage interdisciplinary international collaborations.

The study, “A meta-analysis of 87,040 individuals identifies 23 new susceptibility loci for prostate cancer,” was published Sept. 14, 2014 in Nature Genetics.


Amin Al Olama, A., Kote-Jarai, Z., Berndt, S.I., Conti, D.V., Schumacher, F. … Haiman, C.A. (2014). A meta-analysis of 87,040 individuals identifies 23 new susceptibility loci for prostate cancer. Nature Genetics. Published online Sept. 14, 2014; doi: 10.1038/ng.3094

Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical excellence, the medical system attracts internationally renowned experts who teach and practice at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the region’s first medical school; includes the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States; has a medical faculty practice, the USC Care Medical Group; operates the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 401-licensed bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-licensed bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and owns USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-licensed bed community hospital. It also includes more than 40 outpatient facilities, some at affiliated hospitals, in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck Medical Center of USC among the Top 10 in ophthalmology (No. 9), and among the Top 25 hospitals in the United States for urology (No. 20) and cancer care (No. 23). The medical center was also awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in March, representing outstanding patient safety practices and overall patient outcomes.

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