Black men are at higher risk of prostate cancer than their White counterparts at younger ages and lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a large new study conducted in a Veterans Affairs health care system suggests.
The findings suggest the need for PSA biopsy thresholds that are set with better understanding of patients’ risk factors, said the authors, led by Kyung Min Lee, PhD, with VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure, at Salt Lake City Health Care System.
The study, which included more than 280,000 veterans, was published online in Cancer.
Risk higher, regardless of PSA level before biopsy
The researchers found that self-identified Black men are more likely than White men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer on their first prostate biopsy after controlling for age, prebiopsy PSA count, statin use, smoking status, and several socioeconomic variables.
Among the highlighted results are that a Black man who had a PSA level of 4.0 ng/mL before biopsy “had the same risk of prostate cancer as a White man with a PSA level 3.4 times higher [13.4 ng/mL].”
The gap was even more evident at younger ages. “Among men aged 60 years or younger, a Black man with a prebiopsy PSA level of 4.0 ng/mL had the same risk of prostate cancer as a White man with PSA level 3.7 times higher,” they wrote.
Researchers also found that Black veterans sought PSA screening and underwent their first diagnostic prostate biopsy at a younger age than did their White counterparts. Logistic regression models were used to predict the likelihood of a prostate cancer diagnosis on the first biopsy for 75,295 Black and 207,658 White male veterans.
US Black men have an 80% higher risk of prostate cancer that White men
Previous research has shown that, in the United States, Black men have an 80% higher risk than White men of developing prostate cancer and are 220% more likely to die from it. Rigorous early screening has been suggested to decrease deaths from prostate cancer in Black men, but because that population group is underrepresented in randomized controlled trials, evidence for this has been lacking, the authors wrote.
Different national screening guidelines reflect the lack of clarity about best protocols. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force acknowledges the higher risk but doesn’t make specific screening recommendations for Black men or those at higher risk. Conversely, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network “explicitly recommends earlier PSA screening and a shorter retest interval at lower PSA levels for populations at greater than average risk (including Black men). However, it does not otherwise recommend a different screening protocol.”
Social determinants of health may play a role
The reasons for the higher risk in Black men is unclear, the authors said, pointing out that recent studies suggest that “Black men may have higher genetic risk as assessed by polygenic scores.”
The authors wrote that nongenetic causes, such as access to care, mistrust of the health system, and environmental exposures may also be driving the association of Black race or ethnicity with higher risk of prostate cancer.
“Identifying and addressing these risk factors could further reduce racial disparities in prostate cancer outcomes,” they wrote.
The authors acknowledged that they are limited in their ability to account for socioeconomic status individually and used ZIP codes as proxies. Also, veterans generally have more comorbidities and mortality risks, compared with the general population.
The authors declared no relevant conflicts of interest.
This story originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.
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Publish date : 2023-11-06 15:46:00
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