A new research study, soon to be presented at a major symposium in San Francisco, California, is set to reveal how African-American men seem to respond better than white men to some prostate cancer treatments.
Addressing the Disparity
For quite some time, scientists have found evidence that prostate cancer seems to strike African-American men at higher rates than white Americans. Research into this racial disparity has been halting at first, but new efforts to address both the disparity between diagnosis rates, and the disparity between research into African-American men, have sought to correct this oversight.
One recent study that attempted to do just that has uncovered some intriguing results. Research results, poised to be revealed at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, has found that a certain subset of African-American prostate cancer sufferers responds more favorably to specific cancer medications than white men diagnosed with the same types of prostate tumors. In fact, even after taking into account other factors, these African-American men lived 20 percent longer than their white counterparts.
Details of the Study
Researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine used data from the Veteran’s Health Administration in the form of five years of records, ranging from 2013 to 2018. 2,183 white men, and an additional 787 African-American men, all of whom had been diagnosed with metastatic forms of prostate cancer, were included in this research data. The goal of the study was to understand the role that specific medications played in the treatment of these highly aggressive forms of prostate cancer in both white and African-American men.
The two medications, newer ones known as abiraterone acetate and enzalutamide, were found to have extended life expectancies of African-American patients by 20 percent more than they did for white patients. Average life expectancies for patients taking these drugs increased from 26 months to 30 months in African-Americans, even after adjusting for clinical and demographic characteristics.
What the Results Mean
Researchers are intrigued by the results, as this raises the possibility of treatment approaches that can be specifically tailored to male populations that are more susceptible to prostate cancer. The possibilities of discovering both why African-American men respond better to these different drugs than white men and why African-American men seem to be diagnosed at higher rates as well could lead to novel and more effective treatments in the future for all men.