Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Source: Cancer, 86(5):836-841, September 1999
Successful stratification of patients for any risk variable would enhance our understanding of the disease and therefore enable us to develop effective strategies for managing subsets of patients. This is especially true for prostate cancer since African American men have the highest incidence of prostate carcinoma in the world. Drs. Fowler and Bigler reported this interesting study to confirm and expand our knowledge of racial differences in prostate carcinoma.
Fowler and Bigler prospectively studied 796 consecutive men (465 black and 331 white) with prostate cancer at the VA Hospital associated with the University of Mississippi.
It has been hypothesized that black Americans have higher circulating levels of testosterone than whites. This may be one explanation for racial differences in the risk of developing prostate cancer. The implication is that black American men should be tested for prostate carcinoma at an earlier age than white men. More studies are needed to explore the underlying genetic differences, which are linked, to the risk of prostate carcinoma.