Cincinnati--With early diagnosis, African-American men with prostate
cancer are as likely as white men to be cured by brachytherapy
(radioactive seeds implanted in the prostate), according to UC research
presented this week at the 88th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting
of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). William L.
Barrett, MD, assistant professor, radiation oncology and director of
radiation oncology at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of
Medicine and the University Hospital Barrett Cancer Center, is the
principal investigator of the study. The RSNA is an association of more
than 33,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists and physicists in
medicine dedicated to education and research in the science of
The UC research provides some of the first good news
for African-Americans who suffer from prostate cancer. The American
Cancer Society reports that African-Americans have higher incidences of
prostate cancer than whites and more than twice as many deaths from it.
at UC analyzed the outcomes of 173 patients treated for prostate cancer
with implanted radioactive seeds and found no statistical differences
between African-American and white patients with similar pre-treatment
"The good news is that when diagnosed early,
prostate cancer is frequently curable in African-Americans," Dr.
Barrett said. "Our findings underscore the need for more screening
among African-American males so the cancer is detected early, when it's
most treatable." Dr. Barrett, and co-author William M. Kassing, PhD, a
UC radiobiologist researcher, compared the biochemical response to
brachytherapy of 12 African-American patients to 161 white patients.
Both African-Americans and white patients were studied for
approximately 40 months from 1995 to 2000. The results showed similar
treatment outcomes for both groups receiving brachytherapy, regardless
"There has long been debate about the usefulness of
prostate cancer screening because some forms of the disease are so
slow-growing, they will never be an issue for the patient," Dr. Barrett
said. "But because prostate cancer in African-Americans is generally
not slow-growing, the combination of early diagnosis and effective
treatment is even more important."
None of the African-Americans
undergoing brachytherapy in the study experienced a recurrence of
prostate cancer, although 5.6 percent of the white patients did.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate
that in higher concentrations is an important marker of prostate
disease, was monitored. African-American patients achieving and
maintaining PSA levels of 1.0 or less was 83 percent, and compared to
85 percent for white patients.
The University Hospital is part of
the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati. The Health Alliance also
includes The Christ Hospital, The St. Luke Hospitals, The Jewish
Hospital, The Fort Hamilton Hospital and the physicians of Alliance
For more information about this study, contact Barretwl@healthall.com or call Dr. Barrett at 513/584-4775 or 513/584-8216.