John A. Petros, MD, associate professor of urology and pathology at Emory University School of Medicine and the Winship Cancer Institute, and Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics at the University of California, Irvine, sequenced segments of mtDNA from prostate cancer patients and found a variety of mutations, including various mutations in the mtDNA cytochrome oxidase subunit (COI) gene.
They then sequenced the COI gene in 260 prostate cancer tissue samples or blood cells from patients with confirmed cancer who had undergone radical prostatectomies between 1995 and 2002, and 54 tissue samples from patients who had prostate biopsies but were found to be cancer free. Twelve percent of all the prostate cancer samples had mutations in the COI gene, while less than 2 percent of the samples from patients found to be cancer free harbored mutations in this gene. In a control sample of 1,019 individuals from the general population, 7.8 percent had mutations in the COI gene. The researchers found both germ-line (inherited) and somatic (acquired) mutations in the prostate cancer samples.
Because COI mutations are known to be more common in individuals of African descent, the scientists also analyzed a group of patients and controls of European ancestry. In this group they found the CO
Contact: Holly Korschun
Emory University Health Sciences Center