Comparison of clinical and pathological features in African-American and Caucasian patients with localized prostate cancer

J S Kang, S J Maygarden, J L Mohler, R S Pruthi
BJU International 2004, 93 (9): 1207-10

OBJECTIVE: To examine patient characteristics, prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, and established preoperative and pathological prognostic factors to determine differences between Caucasian and African-American patients with localised prostate cancer, as it remains controversial whether African-American men present with more aggressive disease.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred consecutive patients (aged 53-76 years) undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) at an equal-access tertiary-care centre were retrospectively reviewed. All patients had preoperative PSA levels, a physical examination (including clinical staging), and sextant biopsy. Insurance information was also collected. The same urological oncologist determined clinical staging and performed all the RRPs, and the same genitourinary pathologist determined the Gleason grade for biopsies and surgical specimens, pathological stage, percentage of tumour involvement, and specimen weight. African-American and Caucasian patients were compared for PSA, clinical stage, pathological stage, biopsy and pathological Gleason grade, organ confinement, margin status and specimen weight. Using preoperative and pathological data, both groups were also compared for over- and under-staging and -grading. The Wilcoxon rank test with P < 0.05 was used to determine statistically significant differences.

RESULTS: African-American patients were more likely to be Medicaid or self-insured than Caucasian patients. Age, biopsy grade and clinical stage were not significantly different between the groups. African-American patients presented with a mean PSA level of 11.9 ng/mL and Caucasians with a mean of 8.5 ng/mL (P = 0.03). When clinical and biopsy data were compared with pathological data there were no differences between the groups in under/over-grading or under/over-staging. African-American patients had larger prostates per surgical specimen than their Caucasian counterparts (59.3 g vs 51.6 g, respectively; P = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: In a referred, equal-access system, African-American patients presented with higher serum PSA levels and had larger prostates in the surgical specimen. However, African-American patients did not present at an earlier age or with higher Gleason grade or clinical stage, nor were pathological grade and stages higher. Other pathological features were no different. African-American patients were not under- or over-staged or under- or over-graded more than their Caucasian counterparts. This retrospective study does not suggest that African-American men present with more aggressive disease.

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