Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

2019 GU Symposium: Survival May Vary by Race in Some Patients Treated for Prostate Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Newer prostate cancer drugs, including abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide, appear to benefit African American patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer more than white patients, according to a recent study. Generally, African American individuals with this type of prostate cancer tend to have higher mortality rates; however, the study findings, presented at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco (Abstract 212), provide the first evidence that African American patients may achieve longer overall survival than white patients who received the same treatment.

“An important goal of the study is to understand why some men respond better to certain treatments for prostate cancer than others, so we can tailor treatments more effectively,” noted Megan Ann McNamara, MD, of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, in an American Society of Clinical Oncology press release. “Finding biomarkers that can guide development of targeted therapies is the ultimate goal.”

Using the Veterans Health Administration database, the authors retrospectively analyzed survival rates of white (n = 2,123) and African American (n = 787) men with castration-resistant prostate cancer. Eligible men were treated with abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide and had not received prior chemotherapy.

African American patients achieved better overall survival after adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics. In fact, African Americans patients lived for a median of 30 months versus 26 months for white men. However, African American study patients were more likely to develop comorbid hypertension (< .0001), type II diabetes (< .0001), and liver damage or abnormality (= .0003) than white study patients.

“Trials are needed to validate this finding and explore the mechanisms of racial disparities in outcomes with new hormonal therapies,” the authors concluded.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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