SSM Popul Health 2019 Apr 29;7:100389. Epub 2019 Apr 29.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Objective: Chronic inflammation and expression of the gene are two biomarkers that have been identified as particularly important in the etiology and progression of cancer. While much is known about the determinants of inflammation, there is currently little information regarding the causes of variation in the functioning of , even though it has been recognized for 40 years as the most potent of the cancer suppressor genes. The current paper explores the interrelationship between these two biomarkers and investigates the extent to which they are influenced by the social environment.
Methods: Using structural equation modeling (SEM) and longitudinal observational data from a sample of several hundred African Americans, we tested the hypothesis that adversity - operationalized as racial discrimination- and coping resources - operationalized as religiosity and black friends - influence expression of , for better or worse, through their impact on inflammation.
Results: Correlational analysis showed inflammation and to be inversely related. Further, discrimination was positively related to inflammation and negatively related to expression, whereas religiosity and black friends were both negatively related to inflammation and positively related to expression. Finally, SEM indicated that the effect of the social environmental variables on expression was indirect through level of inflammation.
Conclusions: In addition to its established contribution to cancer through DNA damage and cell proliferation, inflammation likely increases cancer risk indirectly by inhibiting expression of the cancer suppressor gene. Hence environmental and stress management interventions may do more than reduce inflammation's cell damaging effects; they may also lessen the chances of cancer by increasing expression of .