A new study at George Washington University shows that African-American males have a genetic profile that makes prostate cancer tumors both more aggressive and more resistant to available drug treatments. Experts have long known that black men are far more susceptible to the disease – with the most current ACS statistics showing African Americans to be 74 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than twice as likely to die from it.
The variation, called differential RNA splicing, leads molecules to contain cell proteins in different combinations and makes tumors more aggressive. The genetic variations also rendered certain targeted drug therapies to be ineffective – drug therapies that eventually succeeded in killing off the cancer in whites/European-American subjects in the study.
The researchers from George Washington University Cancer Institute say they hope that this research in addressing RNA splicing leads to more effective treatment plans for African-American men.
Cultural Differences in Responding to Prostate Cancer
In related issues, a University of North Carolina study pointed out cultural differences between blacks and whites in their responses to prostate cancer, with African Americans less likely to believe their cases were aggressive and thus less likely to approve aggressive treatment. Reasons given for opting against aggressive treatment plans included both cost and the impact of the medicine/treatments on their daily lives. Also, the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s most recent study on treatment decisions found that non-whites were significantly less likely to undergo surgery to treat their prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men of “average risk” have a PSA test when they turn 50 but that African Americans should get the test done at age 45. The ACS drops the testing age down to age 40 for white and black men who have family histories of prostate cancer.
Driving the Focus of Our Work
Unfortunately, according to the Daily Mail article, only 33 percent of black men over the age of 50 report having one or more prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) screenings in their lifetimes. These numbers are what is driving Fans for the Cure to focus its resources and programs on more communities where we can reach African-American men and bring awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of early detection.
Read the original article online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4655548/Prostate-cancer-deadly-black-men-gene.html