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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jun;25(6):1001-3. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0111. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

No Association between the Mitochondrial Genome and Prostate Cancer Risk: The Multiethnic Cohort.

Author information

Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Fremont, California. Stanford Cancer Institute, Palo Alto, California.
Epidemiology Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
University of Minnesota Genomics Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Center for Human Genetic Research, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Program of Medical and Population Genetics, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts.



Mitochondria are involved in many processes that are central to the life and death of a cell. Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), in particular, is known to be altered in carcinogenesis, leading to an increase in the production of reactive oxidative species and glycolysis, one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. Because of this, genetic variation in the mitochondrial genome, which encodes for part of the OXPHOS pathway, has been suggested to play a role in many cancers, including prostate cancer.


We comprehensively examined the role of the mitochondrial genome and prostate cancer risk in 4,086 prostate cancer cases and 3,698 controls from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), testing 350 mitochondrial SNPs (mtSNPs) in five racial/ethnic populations-Africans, Asian Americans, Europeans, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians. Logistic regression was conducted to examine single mitochondrial SNP and haplogroup associations. The sequence kernel association test was conducted for gene and pathway analysis.


Eleven mtSNPs and haplogroup N were nominally associated with overall prostate cancer risk at P < 0.05. The mitochondrial DNA-encoded OXPHOS pathway, complexes, and genes were not associated with prostate cancer risk. No significant associations were identified after multiple testing corrections (all FDR q > 0.20).


The mitochondrial genome was not associated with prostate cancer risk in our study of 7,784 subjects from the MEC.


Our comprehensive study does not support the role of the mitochondrial genome in the risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(6); 1001-3. ©2016 AACR.

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