Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in western men, and incidence is rising rapidly in most countries, including low-risk populations. Age-adjusted incidence and mortality rates from 15 and 13 countries between 1973-77 and 1988-92, respectively, were compared to provide leads for future analytic studies. Large increases in both incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer were seen for all countries. For incidence, increases were more pronounced in the United States, Canada, Australia, France and the Asian countries, while the increases in medium-risk countries were moderate. Increases in incidence ranged from 25%-114%, 24%-55% and 15%-104% in high-, medium- and low-risk countries, respectively. Mortality rates rose more rapidly in Asian countries than in high-risk countries. Substantial differences in incidence and mortality across countries were evident, with U.S. blacks having rates that were 50-60 times higher than the rates in Shanghai, China. Increasing incidence rates in the United States and Canada are likely to be due in part to the widespread use of transurethral resection of the prostate and prostate-specific antigen testing, while increases in the Asian countries are probably related to westernization in these low-risk populations. The large disparities in incidence between high- and low-risk countries may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Future studies are needed to examine gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in various countries concurrently to shed light on the etiology of prostate cancer and to help elucidate reasons for the large differences in risk between populations.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.