Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 471, 2009, pp 361-385

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in DNA Repair Genes and Prostate Cancer Risk

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The specific causes of prostate cancer are not known. However, multiple etiologic factors, including genetic profile, metabolism of steroid hormones, nutrition, chronic inflammation, family history of prostate cancer, and environmental exposures are thought to play significant roles. Variations in exposure to these risk factors may explain interindividual differences in prostate cancer risk. However, regardless of the precise mechanism(s), a robust DNA repair capacity may mitigate any risks conferred by mutations from these risk factors. Numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA repair genes have been found, and studies of these SNPs and prostate cancer risk are critical to understanding the response of prostate cells to DNA damage. A few SNPs in DNA repair genes are associated with significantly increased risk of prostate cancer; however, in most cases, the effects are moderate and often depend upon interactions among the risk alleles of several genes in a pathway or with other environmental risk factors. This report reviews the published epidemiologic literature on the association of SNPs in genes involved in DNA repair pathways and prostate cancer risk.