NYMC Faculty Publications


Prostate Cancer: Under-representation of African American Men in Research Studies Used in the Latest NCCN Guidelines

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Student, Resident/Fellow, Faculty

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate racial data in studies used in current NCCN prostate cancer guidelines. These guidelines represent the latest information that informs clinical practice. Prostate cancer disproportionately affects mortality in Black patients compared to White patients at a 2.1-fold higher death rate. However, this racial disparity is not accounted for when including patients in research. METHODS: The studies referenced in the latest NCCN guidelines were evaluated for inclusion of racial demographics, and whether they properly account for the higher mortality rate of prostate cancer seen in Black patients. We then analyzed topics within prostate cancer. RESULTS: After application of exclusion criteria, 547 of 878 studies were included for analysis; of those, only 32.4% included demographic data. Overall, Black patients accounted for 472,476 (12.8%) of total patients, while 3,023,007 (81.7%) patients were White. These findings were consistent with specific areas including risk stratification (12% vs 75%), imaging and staging (11% vs 80%), treatment (16% vs 81%), recurrence (15% vs 73%), castration-sensitive prostate cancer (9% vs 84%), castration-resistant prostate cancer (8% vs 73%), and metastatic bone disease (7% vs 84%). CONCLUSION: Our analysis showed consistently that although the guidelines utilize the best research, such studies often do not report racial demographics or have patient populations that do not reflect racial differences in mortality of prostate cancer. Our study questions the generalization of these studies to Black patients. Future research should emphasize inclusion of racial demographics and recruit appropriately representative study cohorts.