Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Unique Immune-Oncologic Characteristics Identified in African American Men With Prostate Cancer

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2021

According to findings from a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, African American men with prostate cancer may demonstrate unique immune-oncologic characteristics. When compared with European American men, African American men may experience the elevation of some major immune pathways, leading to the proliferation of cancer cells and differing expression levels of six genes. They may also be more responsive to radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Our genomic analysis, the largest of its kind, revealed there are major immune pathways that are significantly elevated in African American men, which can correlate with risk of cancer recurrence and poor outcomes,” noted Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD, of Moffitt Cancer Center, in an institutional press release.

The study used the Decipher GRID registry to gather 1,173 radical prostatectomy samples not exposed to radiation that included whole-transcriptome data. Immune-oncologic differences between prostate tumors from African American and European American men were evaluated using the transcriptomic expressions of 1,260 immune-specific genes, whereas a rank test assessed differential gene expression according to race.

Significant elevation of major immune pathways such as proinflammatory cytokines, IFN-α, IFN-γ, and TNFα signaling were identified among tumors from African American men, whose tumor microenvironments had a higher total immune content score (37.8% vs. 21.9%, P = .003). The overexpression of IFN-inducible transmembrane protein 3, a major proinflammatory gene, was a prognostic marker for biochemical recurrence for discovery (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.30; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.21–4.34; P = .01) and validation (HR = 2.42; 95% CI = 1.52–3.86; P = .0001) in African American men. However, tumors from African American men were found to be genomically sensitive to radiotherapy and to possess lower DNA damage repair versus those from European American men.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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