Should African-American men be tested for prostate carcinoma at an earlier age than white men?

Cancer. 1999 Jan 15;85(2):472-7.


Background: There have recently been challenges to testing high risk populations, i.e., African-American men younger than 50 years, for prostate carcinoma (PCa). The mortality rate of patients with PCa between ages 40 and 60 years is nearly 3 times greater among African-American men (AAM) compared with white men (WM). The literature in support of testing AAM at an earlier age than WM is sparse. Therefore, the authors present clinical and histologic data that support the testing of AAM at a younger age, utilizing data on patients with clinically localized PCa.

Methods: Examination of consecutive radical prostatectomy specimens from AAM and WM was performed from January 1991 to June 1996 among AAM and WM at Wayne State University, Harper Hospital, Detroit, Michigan. International, salvage prostatectomy, and neoadjuvant hormonal therapy patients were excluded, as were patients with lymph node metastasis. The authors examined biochemical recurrences of PCa in this cohort of men treated from January 1991 through December 1995. Univariate analysis of contingency tables was performed, using chi-squared-tests to assess the correlation between stage and race after stratification of patients by age group. Biochemical recurrence was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and the log rank test.

Results: The authors examined radical prostatectomy specimens from 759 patients and biochemical recurrence outcome of 655 patients. AAM patients ages 50-69 years had higher prostate specific antigen levels, worse Gleason scores, more advanced stages of disease, and a higher recurrence rate. However, among men ages 70-79 years, there was no difference in these parameters between AAM and WM. Among men ages 40-49 years, a larger sample size is necessary to make meaningful comparisons.

Conclusions: Data on the outcomes of men treated for clinically localized PCa demonstrated more advanced disease and more frequent recurrence among young AAM than among WM, young and of advanced age. These differences in disease severity and recurrence, in addition to the disproportionate mortality among young AAM, are strong evidence that AAM should be tested for PCa at an earlier age than WM.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Survival Analysis
  • Whites*