Objectives: The role of socioeconomic factors in the worse outcome of black men with prostate cancer remains unclear. To determine whether socioeconomic factors affect prostate cancer outcomes, we studied a cohort of only black patients to minimize known confounding factors.
Methods: We studied black men treated with radical prostatectomy at New York Veterans Administration Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center between 1990 and 2005. A centralized pathology review process determined the Gleason score of all cases. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) recurrence at both sites was defined as PSA of 0.2 or greater with a confirmatory rise. By matching patients' home zip codes to the U.S. Census Bureau database, we obtained corresponding socioeconomic data regarding median household income (income) and percentage of population with a high school (degree). We analyzed income, education, and clinical and pathological parameters for the whole cohort.
Results: We studied 430 black patients. They resided in neighborhoods where median household income was $41,498.10 and mean percentage of high school graduates was 73.4%. A total of 88 patients (20.9%) had PSA recurrence. Median follow-up for survivors was 37 months. Neither income nor education evaluated as continuous or categorical variables were predictors of PSA recurrence. When evaluated as composite categorical variable, the combination of greater income and education did not predict disease-free survival.
Conclusions: Data suggest that socioeconomic factors have limited impact on PSA recurrence in black men treated with radical prostatectomy. Thus, biologic factors might have a role in the poor outcomes in this population.