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Racial Differences in Prostate Cancer Treatment Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Peters, Nikki BA; Armstrong, Katrina MD


Although differences in prostate cancer incidence and mortality between black and white men are widely accepted, the existence of racial differences in treatment outcomes remains controversial. We conducted a systematic review of racial differences in prostate cancer treatment outcomes. Systematic review of literature from 1992–2002 was conducted. Database searches were performed using the terms: “prostate cancer” (keyword) or “prostate neoplasm” (subject heading) + “blacks” (subject heading) or “blacks” (keyword) + “African-Americans” (subject heading or “African-Americans” (keyword). Two hundred fifty-eight relevant articles were identified; 29 fit the inclusion criteria. All but 3 were retrospective. Seven (24%) studies were conducted at Veterans Affairs medical centers. Treatment included radical prostatectomy (15 studies), hormonal therapy (5 studies), and radiotherapy (12 studies). Three studies included more than 1 treatment. Twenty-three (79%) studies, observed no significant difference in treatment outcomes between races. The remainder found worse outcomes among black men, including worse 5-year survival (HR range, 2.35–96.74) and higher rates of PSA failure (OR range, 1.15–1.69). Most studies investigating racial differences in prostate cancer treatment outcomes over the past 10 years found no difference between races after controlling for tumor and patient characteristics. Efforts to narrow the gap between black and white prostate cancer mortality should focus on ensuring that all patients receive optimal treatment and that all patients become informed about the use of screening for early cancer detection. Research should focus on interventions to reduce advanced presentation of the disease and disease-related mortality among black men.

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Pennsylvania (Ms Peters); and the Department of Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania; Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center (Dr Armstrong).

Corresponding author: Nikki Peters, BA, 1101 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

Katrina Armstrong, MD, is supported by an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Training Grant and a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty Scholar Award.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.