Racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are considerable. We previously found in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) that African American men had an 80% higher prostate cancer risk than white men. With 21 additional years of follow-up and four-fold increase in cases, we undertook a contemporary analysis of racial differences in prostate cancer incidence and mortality in HPFS.
For 47,679 men, we estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between race and risk of prostate cancer through 2016 using Cox proportional hazards regression. Multivariable models adjusted for lifestyle, diet, family history, and PSA screening collected on biennial questionnaires.
6,909 prostate cancer cases were diagnosed in white, 89 in African American, and 90 in Asian American men. African Americans had higher prostate cancer incidence (mHR 1.31, 95% CI 1.06-1.62) and mortality (mHR 1.67, 95% CI 1.00-2.78), and lower PSA screening prevalence than white men. The excess risk was greater in the pre-PSA screening era (HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.14-2.48) than the PSA screening era (HR 1.20, 95% CI 0.93-1.56). Asian Americans had lower prostate cancer risk (mHR 0.74, 95% CI 0.60-0.92), but similar risk of fatal disease compared to white men.
Racial differences in prostate cancer incidence and mortality in HPFS are not fully explained by differences in lifestyle, diet, family history, or PSA screening.
Additional research is necessary to address the disproportionately higher rates of prostate cancer in African American men.