Disparities at presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and survival in African American men, affected by prostate cancer

Prostate. 2011 Jun 15;71(9):985-97. doi: 10.1002/pros.21314. Epub 2010 Dec 28.


Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) remains the most common malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. PCa exhibits the most striking racial disparity, as African American men are at 1.4 times higher risk of being diagnosed, and 2-3 times higher risk of dying of PCa, compared to Caucasian men. The etiology of the disparity has not been clearly elucidated. The objective of this article is to critically review the literature and summarize the most prominent PCa racial disparities accompanied by proposed explanations.

Methods: The present literature on disparities at presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and survival of African American men affected by PCa was systematically reviewed. Original research as well as relevant review articles were included.

Results: African American men persistently present with more advanced disease than Caucasian men, are administered different treatment regimens than Caucasian men, and have shorter progression-free survival following treatment. In addition, African American men report more treatment-related side-effects that translates to the diminished quality of life (QOL).

Conclusions: PCa racial disparity exists at stages of presentation, diagnosis, treatment regimens, and subsequent survival, and the QOL. The disparities are complex involving biological, socio-economic, and socio-cultural determinants. These mounting results highlight an urgent need for future clinical, scientific, and socio-cultural research involving transdisciplinary teams to elucidate the causes for PCa racial disparities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States