Identification of immune-related genetic and infectious risk factors in cancer.
The immune system plays an important role in the body's defense against cancer. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex is a group of genes that encode proteins that help immune cells to identify and destroy cancer cells. There are many different types of HLA genes in the general population, and an individual's HLA gene types are inherited from his or her parents. The aims of this project are to 1) determine how an individual's inherited HLA gene types contribute to the risk of developing cancer, 2) identify other inherited cancer risk factors that are related to the immune system, and 3) determine how inherited cancer risk factors interact with factors from the environment, such as infection with viruses. The expected duration of this project is 36 months. The results of this study will potentially help clinicians to identify patient populations at high risk for developing cancer, and will motivate follow-up studies to better understand how the immune system utilizes components such as the HLA complex to protect against cancer.