19 May 2021

New inclusive research finds similar survival outcomes from Black and white men on hormone therapy

A new advanced prostate cancer study, deliberately designed to enrol equal numbers of Black and white men, has concluded that Black men are often unnecessarily excluded from important trials.

Researchers at Duke Cancer Institute enrolled 50 Black and 50 white men with advanced prostate cancer to test whether there were outcome differences on treatment with the hormone therapy abiraterone acetate plus the steroid prednisone.

"To our knowledge, our study is the first interventional trial in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer to pre-specify parallel patient treatment groups by self-identified race and to evaluate clinical efficacy and safety outcomes prospectively by race," the researchers wrote. They found no differences in disease progression or overall survival times.

The researchers found this interesting, given that Black men are often excluded and therefore under-represented in trials – often because of the prevalence of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This new study did not exclude Black men on these grounds.

“When you look at the overall survival data for our study, they're equal between Black and white men," said lead author Professor Daniel George, from Duke University School of Medicine, USA. "But given the prevalence of coexisting conditions in the Black men we enroled, mortality should have actually been higher for them.”

“Our finding that it was not higher is telling. It suggests Black men with prostate cancer can fare just as well as whites, even with other health issues. And it signals that future studies should consider enrolling Black men despite these often-disqualifying conditions.”