Neutropenia associated with race/ethnicity has essentially been unexplained and, although thought to be benign, may affect therapy for cancer or other illnesses. A recent study linked a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs2814778) in the Duffy antigen/receptor chemokine gene (DARC) with white blood cell count. We therefore analysed the association of the rs2814778 CC, TC and TT genotypes with absolute neutrophil count (ANC) among asymptomatic women from the Caribbean, Europe and the United States. Among 261 study participants, 33/47 women from Barbados/Trinidad-Tobago, 34/49 from Haiti, 26/37 from Jamaica, and 29/38 US-born black women, but only 4/50 from the Dominican Republic and 0/40 US- or European-born whites (P = 0·0001) had the CC genotype. In a linear regression model that included percentage African ancestry, national origin, cytokines, socio-economic factors and the ELA2 rs57834246 SNP, only the DARC rs2814778 genotype and C-reactive protein were associated with ANC (P < 0·0001). Women with the CC genotype had lower ANC than other women. Further research is needed on the associations of rs2814778 genotype with neutropenia and treatment delay in the setting of cancer. A better understanding of these associations may help to improve cancer outcomes among individuals of African ancestry
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