Eur Urol. 2007; published online ahead of print

Prostate cancer is three times more likely to develop in black men than white men in the United Kingdom, although the risk is lower than that of black men in the United States, researchers in England conclude.

They studied 2,140 prostate cancer cases diagnosed over a five-year period. Of these, 1,315 occurred in white men, 435 in black Caribbean men, 102 in black African men, 10 in unclassified black men, 129 in other ethnic groups, and 149 in men with undocumented ethnicity.

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The age-adjusted rates of prostate cancer were 166 cases per 100,000 population for black men compared with 56.4 cases per 100,000 for white men. The age-adjusted rates for black Caribbean men and black African men were 173 and 139 per 100,000 population, respectively. Compared with white men, the risk of developing prostate cancer was 3.09 times higher in black men overall and 3.19 and 2.87 times higher in black Caribbean men and black African men, respectively. Researchers observed higher relative rates for black men compared with whites were more pronounced for younger age groups.

Most of the black African men in the study originated from West Africa and were genetically similar to black Caribbean men, because the latter had been transported from the west coast of Africa to the Caribbean to work on plantations. “It is reasonable to assume that almost all our black men were born overseas and migrated to Britain in adulthood. It is therefore likely that these men share a common genetic susceptibility for an increased risk of prostate cancer.”