Epidemiology and genomics of prostate cancer in Asian men

Nat Rev Urol. 2021 May;18(5):282-301. doi: 10.1038/s41585-021-00442-8. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Prostate cancer is a global health problem, but incidence varies considerably across different continents. Asia is traditionally considered a low-incidence area, but the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer have rapidly increased across the continent. Substantial differences in epidemiological features have been observed among different Asian regions, and incidence, as well as mortality-to-incidence ratio, is associated with the human development index. Prostate cancer mortality decreased in Japan and Israel from 2007 to 2016, but mortality has increased in Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan over the same period. Genomic analyses have shown a low prevalence of ERG oncoprotein in the East Asian population, alongside a low rate of PTEN loss, high CHD1 enrichments and high FOXA1 alterations. Contributions from single-nucleotide polymorphisms to prostate cancer risk vary with ethnicity, but germline mutation rates of DNA damage repair genes in metastatic prostate cancer are comparable in Chinese and white patients from the USA and UK. Pharmacogenomic features of testosterone metabolism might contribute to disparities seen in the response to androgen deprivation between East Asian men and white American and European men. Overall, considerable diversity in epidemiology and genomics of prostate cancer across Asia defines disease characteristics in these populations, but studies in this area are under-represented in the literature. Taking into account this intracontinental and intercontinental heterogeneity, translational studies are required in order to develop ethnicity-specific treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*