Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have identified three specific gene types that account for a known two-to-three-fold increase in myeloma diagnoses among African-Americans. Researchers also demonstrated the ability to study race and racial admixture more accurately using DNA analysis. The findings were published online on October 10, 2018 in Blood Cancer Journal. The open-access article is titled “Differences in Genomic Abnormalities Among African Individuals with Monoclonal Gammopathies Using Calculated Ancestry.” "Myeloma is a serious blood cancer that occurs two to three times more often in African-Americans than Caucasians," says Vincent Rajkumar(photo), MD. a hematologist at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study. "We sought to identifying the mechanisms of this health disparity to help us better understand why myeloma occurs in the first place and provide insight into the best forms of therapy." Dr. Rajkumar and his colleagues studied 881 patients of various racial groups. Researchers found that the higher risk of myeloma known to occur in African-Americans was driven by three specific subtypes of the cancer characterized by the presence of genetic translocations in cancer cells. Translocations are genetic abnormalities in cancer cells caused by the rearrangement of parts between nonhomologous chromosomes. The translocation researchers identified were t(11;14), t(14;16), and (t14;20). "Previous efforts to understand this disparity have relied on self-reported race rather than on genetic ancestry, which may have resulted in bias," explains Dr. Rajkumar. "A major new aspect of this study is that we identified the ancestry of each patient through DNA sequencing, which allowed us to determine ancestry more accurately." Dr.
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