Prostate-specific antigen levels are higher in African-American than in white patients in a multicenter registration study: Results of RTOG 94-12

Srinivasan Vijayakumar, Kathryn Winter, William Sause, Michael J. Gallagher, Jeff Michalski, Mack Roach, Arthur Porter, Melissa Bondy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a national sample of African-American and white men with prostate cancer, and to attempt to explain any differences by using self-reported individual- level socioeconomic status adjustments. Methods and Materials: During 4 1/4 months in 1994-95, 709 patients with nonmetastatic prostate cancer were enrolled in this prospective study 17.5% were African-American and 82.5% were white. Information about clinical stage, tumor grade, pretreatment PSA, type of insurance and educational and income status was obtained. Serum PSA levels were measured and racial differences were found; how the differences were influenced by other patient- or tumor-related factors and if the differences could be explained by socioeconomic status disparities were determined. In univariate analyses, factors associated with the mean PSA levels were studied; log-converted values were used to yield a normal distribution. Multivariate analyses were done on log-linear models for description of association patterns among various categorical variables; a perfectly fitted model should have a correlation value (CV) of 1.0. Results: The mean PSA level was higher in African-Americans (14.68 ng/ml) than in whites (9.82 ng/ml) (p = 0.001). Clinical stage (p = 0.001), Gleason sum tumor grade (p = 0.0001), educational level (p = 0.001), and household income (p = 0.03) were also associated with mean PSA levels: age, type of biopsy, and insurance status were not. Disease stage (p = 0.0001), grade (p = 0.0001), education (p = 0.07), and income (p = 0.02) were all associated with PSA levels for whites, but none of these factors were important for African-Americans (all p values > 0.1). The best fitted log-linear model (CV = 0.99) contained PSA (< 10, 10-20, and > 20), Gleason sum grade (2-5, 6-7, and 8-10), race, and two interactions: PSA by race (p = 0.0012) and PSA by Gleason sum (p = 0.0001). Models replacing race for either income (CV = 0.82) or education (CV = 0.82) or both (CV = 0.78) did not fit as well. Conclusions: African-Americans with nonmetastatic prostate cancer have higher serum PSA levels at diagnosis than whites, implying a higher tumor cell burden. Individual-level household income, education, or insurance status alone or in combination account for racial differences, but only partially.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • African-Americans
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • Race


Dive into the research topics of 'Prostate-specific antigen levels are higher in African-American than in white patients in a multicenter registration study: Results of RTOG 94-12'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this