The incidence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is significantly lower in African Americans than whites, but overall survival is inferior. The biologic basis for these observations remains unexplored. We hypothesized that germline genetic predispositions differ between African Americans and whites with CLL and yield inferior clinical outcomes among African Americans. We examined a discovery cohort of 42 African American CLL patients ascertained at Duke University and found that the risk allele frequency of most single nucleotide polymorphisms known to confer risk of development for CLL is significantly lower among African Americans than whites. We then confirmed our results in a distinct cohort of 68 African American patients ascertained by the CLL Research Consortium. These results provide the first evidence supporting differential genetic risk for CLL between African Americans compared with whites. A fuller understanding of differential genetic risk may improve prognostication and therapeutic decision making for all CLL patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology