Data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research shows that baldness is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer among African-American men. According to published data, publication also showed that risk for advanced prostate cancer increased with younger age and type of baldness.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. Basedon data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program and incidence data from NCHS mortality statistics for 2009, there were approximately 2,496,784 men alive in the United States who had a history of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Societyestimates that a total of238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosedin the United States in 2013. They further estimate that 29,720 men will die of the disease.

African-American men
Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. African-American men are also more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men. The most recent data confirms that the disease occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.

Commenting on the higher incidence in African-American men and the published study results,Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia said:?We focused on African-American men because they are at high risk for developing prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than other groups in the United States. She further noted: ?Although this is a high-risk group for poor prostate cancer outcomes, no published study had focused on evaluating baldness as a potential risk factor in a sample of African-American men.?

Zeigler-Johnson and her colleagues identified 318 men with prostate cancer and 219 controls among participants who enrolled in the Study of Clinical Outcomes, Risk and Ethnicity (SCORE) between 1998 and 2010. All of them were African-American and had varying degrees of baldness. They obtained information on type of baldness (none, frontal and vertex) and other medical history using a questionnaire.

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The collected data further includedage-stratified associations of baldness with prostate cancer occurrence and severity defined by high stage (T3/T4) or high grade (Gleason 7+.) Associations of androgen metabolism genotypes (CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP3A43, AR-CAG, SRD5A2 A49T, andSRD5A2 V89L), family history, alcohol intake, and smoking were examined by baldness status and age group by using multivariable logistic regression models.

The researchers found that any baldness was associated with a 69% increased risk of prostate cancer. In particular, African-American men with frontal baldness, and not vertex baldness, were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. This association was even stronger among men who were diagnosed when younger than 60, with a sixfold increase in high-stage prostate cancer and a fourfold increase in high-grade prostate cancer.

In addition, among younger men with prostate cancer, those with frontal baldness were more likely to have a high prostate-specific antigen level at diagnosis.Interactions with age and smoking were also suggested in these associations.

?Early-onset baldness may be a risk factor for early-onset prostate cancer in African-American men, particularly younger men,? noted Zeigler-Johnson. ?Pending future studies to confirm our results, there is a potential to use early-onset baldness as a clinical indicator of increased risk for prostate cancer in some populations of men.?

For more information:
– Zeigler-Johnson C, Morales KH, Spangler E, Chang B, Rebbeck TR. Relationship of Early-Onset Baldness to Prostate Cancer in African-American Men. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Published OnlineFirst March 26, 2013; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0944
– Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Neyman N, Aminou R, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Ruhl J, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009 (Vintage 2009 Populations), National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, Last accessed March 26, 2013.

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