Kristine Akullian

Pancreatic Cancer Mutations in Arab Americans

ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer (PCx) is seen with the highest rate of incidence in developed countries; however, research in understanding why this might be is limited.

From the studies that do exist, analysis seems to support "country of origin" and "environment" as playing explanatory roles in the molecular and etiological disparities seen when comparing cases residing within different localities of the Middle East and the US.

When Soliman et al investigated molecular pathology of pancreatic carcinomas between Egyptian patients residing in polluted areas to United States patients; they found no differences in rates of mutations but found significant differences in, "specific types of K-ras and p53 mutations."(1) Another pancreatic cancer study which involved comparing the same population of Egyptian PCx cases living in heavily polluted regions in the Nile to compare to Egyptian cases living in low pollution areas found among other differences, most prominently was that the mutations in codon 12 of K-ras and p53 exons 5-8 occurred at a higher rate in Egyptians from the polluted area than low polluted areas. (2)

The intentions of this study are to investigate how immigration may influence the trend of these previous studies by comparing the molecular pathology of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in Arab American patients as compared to Non Arab American patients. If PCx is primarily genetic, then moving from one country to another would not change the rate of a type of mutation observed in this cancer. Due to the fact that the Detroit consists of one of the largest growing Arab American populations in the US, PCx cases of this ethnicity were identified using an Arab/Chaldean surname list which was matched to the Detroit Metropolitan SEER registry data. Tissue samples were then proceeded to be collected from hospitals located in this urban area. White cases were recruited from the University of Michigan Multidisciplinary Cancer Center Clinic. Specifically, the types and frequencies of mutations seen in the p53 and K-ras genes will be analyzed and compared between ethnic groups. This study will be done using paraffin embedded pancreatic tissue which will undergo DNA extraction, purification and sequencing. It is hypothesized that the types of genetic mutations will show a significant difference between the comparison groups and show a strong association between country of origin and type of mutation in the p53 and K-ras genes.

1. "Soliman AS, Bondy M, Webb CR, Schottenfeld D, Bonner J, El-Ghawalby N, Soultan A, Abdel-Wahab M, Fathy O, Ebidi G, Zhang Q, Greenson JK, Abbruzzese JL, Hamilton SR" (Int. J. Cancer 2006)
2. "Soliman AS, Lo AC, Banerjee M, El-Ghawalby N, Khaled HM, Bayoumi S, Seifeldin IA, Abdel-Aziz A, Abbruzzese JL, Greenson JK, Hamilton SR" (Carcinogenesis, 2007)