African American Men Might Have a Survival Advantage Over Caucasian Men!

In a very surprising analysis performed by Susan Halabi, MD, professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics, School of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, it was determined that the overall survival (OS) between African American and Caucasian men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) favors African Americans!

Her study, based on population-level data, tested the hypothesis on the OS outcomes in African-American and Caucasian men would favor Caucasian men. In order to test their hypothesis, they looked at 9 randomized phase III trials, comprised of over 8000 men. Eighty-five percent were Caucasian, and only 6% were African-American.

In their initial analysis, they were surprised when they found that there were no differences in OS between African-American and Caucasian men. The median OS was 21 months. Halabi then performed an analysis that adjusted for prognostic factors like age, prostate-specific antigen level, and alkaline phosphatase which showed a hazard ratio of 0.81, favoring African-American men. She concluded, to our surprise, that the risk of death for African American men was about 19% lower than for Caucasian men.

This finding is in contrast to the usually held belief that African American men are at a greater risk than Caucasian men. The potential flaw in this conclusion is that there the population of African American men studied was small, just 6%.

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and the rare cancer Appendiceal cancer.