Minireview: the molecular and genomic basis for prostate cancer health disparities

Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Jun;27(6):879-91. doi: 10.1210/me.2013-1039. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


Despite more aggressive screening across all demographics and gradual declines in mortality related to prostate cancer (PCa) in the United States, race disparities persist. For African American men (AAM), PCa is more often an aggressive disease showing increased metastases and greater PCa-related mortality compared with European American men. The earliest research points to how distinctions are likely the result of a combination of factors, including ancestry genetics and lifestyle variables. More recent research considers that cancer, although influenced by external forces, is ultimately a disease primarily driven by aberrations observed in the molecular genetics of the tumor. Research studying PCa predominantly from European American men shows that indolent and advanced or metastatic prostate tumors have distinguishing molecular genomic make-ups. Early yet increasing evidence suggests that clinically distinct PCa from AAM also display molecular distinctions. It is reasonable to predict that further study will reveal molecular subtypes and various frequencies for PCa subtypes among diverse patient groups, thereby providing insight as to the genomic lesions and gene signatures that are functionally implicated in carcinogenesis or aggressive PCa in AAM. That knowledge will prove useful in developing strategies to predict who will develop advanced PCa among AAM and will provide the rationale to develop effective individualized treatment strategies to overcome disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology