Purpose: There is controversy in the literature as to whether black race is associated with poorer oncological outcomes among men undergoing radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer. To address this issue we examined the outcomes of a cohort of black and white men treated by multiple surgeons at our institution.
Materials and methods: The study population consisted of 4,962 white and 326 black men treated with anatomical radical retropubic prostatectomy between 1988 and 2004 by 10 different surgeons at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, a tertiary care referral center. We evaluated the association between race and adverse pathological features, and biochemical progression.
Results: Black men had significantly higher preoperative serum prostate specific antigen (mean 7.2 vs 6.0 ng/ml, p <0.001), body mass index (median 27.4 vs 26.3 kg/m, p <0.001) and incidence of higher grade disease (Gleason sum 4 + 3 or greater) on prostate biopsy (17% vs 14%, p = 0.011). After adjustment for multiple clinical variables there was no statistically significant association between race and the adverse pathological characteristics of high grade disease, positive surgical margins, extraprostatic extension or seminal vesicle invasion. Black race was associated with a significantly increased risk of biochemical progression on univariate analysis (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.16-2.00, p = 0.002). However, after adjusting for clinical and pathological characteristics, black race was not an independent predictor of biochemical progression (HR 1.09, 95% CI 0.81-1.45, p = 0.578).
Conclusions: Black men were more likely to be obese and present with adverse preoperative clinical features at a younger age, and have a higher rate of biochemical progression. However, on multivariate analysis black race was not an independent predictor of adverse pathological outcome or biochemical recurrence. Further efforts are needed to detect prostate cancer earlier among black men.