Genetic variations make individuals unique, and that uniqueness also extends to cancer. A new study by the George Washington University Cancer Center has identified that African American men tend to have a genetic variation which makes their prostate cancer difficult to treat.
The particular genetic variation occurs at the level of mRNA, an information shuttle in cells. mRNA is made of smaller building blocks that are pasted together, forming instructions to build proteins. The study found that for a particular protein involved in prostate cancer, African American men were more likely to have a slightly altered mRNA. This led to the creation of a new form of the protein compared to that found in American men of European descent. This slight difference made their cancer more aggressive and difficult to treat.