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Race plays a key role in prostate cancer survival rates

nosis than those two ethnic groups, but still enjoy a higher survival rate than white men.

The men who took part in the study had an average age of 76 and had all received hormonal treatment from the same team or urologists. Hormone therapy blocks the action of the male sex hormones that help the cancer cells grow, either through administering testosterone lowering drugs or by removing the testosterone-producing testicles.

None of the study subjects had received definitive surgical or radiation therapy.

Five factors were examined in detail age, race, pre-treatment PSA score, the clinical stage that the cancer had reached and the Gleason score, which defines the severity of the cancer based on microscopic analysis.

Only two factors - race and the pre-treatment PSA score were shown to have a significant effect on whether the patient survived and for how long.

"One of the reasons why the survival rate may be better among Japanese American men with a PSA of less than 100 is that they are less likely to suffer from the side-effects of the hormone treatment, such as heart problems, compared with white American males," adds Dr. Fukagai.

"There is also evidence that different races have different genetic profiles. As prostate cancer is a disease that is affected by hormones, it may be that the nature of the actual disease, and how it progresses, varies between different races.

"However prostate cancer undergoes various changes as it develops and we suspect that the changes that take place in the advanced stages of the disease reduce the effect of those ethnic differences.

"This would account for the fact that there was a difference in survival rates between Japanese American and white men with a PSA of less than 100, but those ethnic differences disappeared in more severe cases with a PSA of more than 100."


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Contact: Annette Whibley
wordwizard@clara.co.uk
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
12-Jun-2006


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