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Recent Study Shows African American Men with Advance Prostate Cancer May Live Longer when Treated with Immunotherapy

Recent Study Shows African American Men with Advance Prostate Cancer May Live Longer when Treated with Immunotherapy

For men in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death behind lung cancer.[1] It’s also one of the cancers that disproportionately affects African American men.

African American men tend to present with aggressive prostate cancer and have twice the mortality rate as Caucasian men.[2] In fact, the incidence of prostate cancer is about 60% higher in African American men than in Caucasian men for reasons that remain unclear.[3]

Despite these statistics, recently published real-world data from a registry study of nearly 2,000 men with advanced prostate cancer may offer some hope. Key findings from an exploratory analysis of the study, recently published online in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases,[4] compared median overall survival (OS) in African American and Caucasian men who had similar baseline PSA levels.

When comparing PSA-matched African American and Caucasian men with a baseline PSA below 29.48 ng/mL who received immunotherapy[5], African American men lived over 4.5 years compared with 2.8 years for Caucasian men and had a nearly 50% reduction in the risk of death[6], underscoring the critical role immunotherapy may play in helping African American men with advanced prostate cancer live longer.

Immunotherapy is an exciting prostate cancer treatment option that has emerged in the past decade. It uses a patient’s own cells to stimulate his immune system to target and attack the prostate cancer cells.

Here at Urology Centers of Alabama, we’ve been offering immunotherapy for five of years. Our patients who are prescribed immunotherapy for advanced prostate cancer visit a cell collection center to have their immune cells extracted – a critical part of delivering a treatment that is customized for each person. The cells are then transported to a manufacturing facility, made into a personalized medicine, and sent to our practice to be infused into the patient. A full course of treatment requires three infusions that typically occur over one month.

This Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (September), we urge all men – especially African American men – to talk with their doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer. The good news is that prostate cancer is relatively slow growing and can often be found in the early stage using a simple blood test.[7] When prostate cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%![8]

For more information about immunotherapy, talk with your doctor.

[1] Cancer.org. Cancer Facts & Figures 2020. LINK

[2] NIH/NCI. Cancer Current Blog. African American Men More Likely to Die from Low-Grade Prostate Cancer. LINK

[3] ACS. Cancer Facts & Figures. LINK

[4] Sartor O, Armstrong AJ, Ahaghotu C, et al. Survival of African-American and Caucasian men after sipuleucel-T immunotherapy: outcomes from the PROCEED registry. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2020;23:517-526. LINK

[5] Dendreon Data: Median OS in PSA-matched subjects with a baseline PSA <29.48 ng/mL was 54.3 months for African American men and 33.4 months for Caucasian men. Median OS in men with a baseline PSA >29.48 ng/mL was 22.7 months for African American men and 17.6 months for Caucasian men.

[6] Dendreon Press Release. March 2020. LINK

[7] Cancer.org. If You Have Prostate Cancer. LINK

[8] Cancer.net. Prostate Cancer: Statistics. LINK

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