Genetic predisposition to cancer

​Description of Research

The group is studying both breast and prostate cancer genetics, the main goal being on prostate cancer. Of all cancers, prostate cancer (PrCa) has been reported as one of the most heritable diseases. Genetic factors were recently estimated to account for 58% of the risk, using data from the Nordic Twin Study of Cancer. However, genetics has proven challenging because of the very heterogeneous nature of the disease. Our goal is to identify and characterize predisposing genes and variants, especially those affecting aggressive outcome, including treatment response to therapies.  This data will have diagnostic utility at an early, curable stage of the disease. Further, the aim is to develop tools for prognostic purposes, i.e. prognostic biomarkers, which are urgently needed in PrCa screening and clinical practice. In our previous work we have identified significant genomic regions, candidate genes and variants, which are further profiled and characterized.

Members of the research group

Elina Kaikkonen, MSc (PhD student)
Anna Lindström, BSc (graduate student)
Csilla Sipeky, PhD
Gudrun Walhström, PhD
Juha Pursiheimo, PhD
Vidal Fey, PhD

Selected Publications

Cropp CD, Simpson CL, Wahlfors T, Ha N, George A, Jones MS, Harper U, Ponciano-Jackson D, Green TA, Tammela TL, Bailey-Wilson J, Schleutker J. Genome-wide linkage scan for prostate cancer susceptibility in Finland: Evidence for a novel locus on 2q37.2 and confirmation of signal on 17q21-q22. Int J Cancer, 129(10):2400-2407, 2011.

Nurminen R, Lehtonen R, Auvinen A, Tammela TL, Wahlfors T, Schleutker J. Fine mapping of 11q13.5 identifies regions associated with prostate cancer and prostate cancer death. Eur J Can-cer, 49(15):3335-3343, 2013.

Eeles RA, Olama AA, Benlloch S, Saunders EJ, Leongamornlert DA, Tymrakiewicz M, Ghoussaini M, Luccarini C, Dennis J, Jugurnauth-Little S, Dadaev T, Neal DE, Hamdy FC, Donovan JL, Muir K, Giles GG, Severi G, Wiklund F, Gronberg H, Haiman CA, Schumacher F, Henderson BE, Le Marchand L, Lindstrom S, Kraft P, Hunter DJ, Gapstur S, Chanock SJ, Berndt SI, Albanes D, Andriole G, Schleutker J, Weischer M, Canzian F, Riboli E, Key TJ, Travis RC, Campa D, Ingles SA, John EM, Hayes RB, Pharoah PD, Pashayan N, Khaw KT, Stanford JL, Ostrander EA, et al. Identification of 23 new prostate cancer susceptibility loci using the iCOCGS custom genotyping array. Nat Genet, 45(4):385-91, 2013.

Laitinen V, Rantapero T, Fischer D, Vuorinen EM, Tammela TLJ, PRACTICAL consortium, Wahlfors T, Schleutker J. Fine-mapping the 2q37 and 17q11.2-q22 loci for novel genes and sequence vari-ants associated with a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer. Int J Cancer, 5;136(10):2316-2327, 2015.

Murtola TJ, Wahlfors T, Haring A, Taari K, Stenman U-F, Tammela TLJ, PRACTICAL Consortium, Schleutker J, Auvinen A. Polymorphisms in genes of the glucose- and energy-metabolism pathways and prostate cancer: Interplay with metformin. Eur Urol, in press.