Prostate Cancer Scoring Method May Not Accurately Predict Outcomes in Black Men, Study Suggests

Prostate Cancer Scoring Method May Not Accurately Predict Outcomes in Black Men, Study Suggests
Black men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer are two times more likely to actually have a more aggressive, fatal form of the disease than those of other races, suggesting that the current prostate cancer score method may be underestimating the risk of death among black patients, a study suggests. The study, "Prostate Cancer–Specific Mortality Across Gleason Scores in Black vs Nonblack Men," published in JAMA, also raises questions on whether the biology of low-risk prostate cancer in black men is different from that of other ethnic populations. The Gleason score is one of the best predictors of outcomes for prostate cancer patients and can be used to determine appropriate treatment. Typically, patients with a Gleason score of six or less don't necessarily need treatment — although some opt for it anyway — whereas Gleason scores from seven to 10 are indicative of especially aggressive cancer that requires more aggressive treatment, such as surgery. Yet predictive models like the Gleason score are often imperfect, and they can sometimes under-perform for specific demographic groups. "Data suggests that African American men who have surgery for Gleason 6 cancers are more likely to have more aggressive surgical features than predicted prior to
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.

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