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PSA Levels Accurately Predict Prostate Cancer Risk in African-American Men


PHILADELPHIA - PSA levels appear to be more predictive of three year prostate cancer risk in African-American men compared with Caucasian men with a family history of prostate cancer, according to a paper published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“It was previously thought that PSA levels were just naturally higher in African-American men, suggesting a need to possibly adjust the threshold upward before recommending a biopsy,” said Veda Giri, M.D., director of the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Giri and colleagues at the University of Chicago observed 646 high-risk men, of whom 63 percent were African-American, in the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program, which has an aggressive early detection approach.

No “race specific” differences in PSA levels were found when race was measured using genetic markers of ancestry or reported by participants.

The researchers subsequently analyzed men with a PSA between 1.5 to 4 ng/mL, and who had at least one follow-up visit. They found that among men with a family history of prostate cancer, PSA levels had the same predictive value whether the men were Caucasian or African-American.

These findings are unique in that typically men are not recommended for a prostate biopsy until their PSA levels rise above 4 ng/mL. Larger studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm these findings.

“African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be encouraged to participate in early detection studies to define personalized screening strategies that may diagnose prostate cancer at a curable point,” said Giri.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and 80 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication and its sixth major journal, Cancer Prevention Research, is dedicated exclusively to cancer prevention, from preclinical research to clinical trials. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.


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