Dr. Mahal on the Potential Role of Race in Prostate Cancer Disparities

October 23, 2020
Brandon Mahal, MD

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center</b>

Brandon Mahal, MD, discusses the potential role of race with regard to molecular disparities among men with prostate cancer.

Brandon Mahal, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology, assistant director of community outreach and engagement, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, discusses the potential role of race with regard to molecular disparities among men with prostate cancer.

In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, findings from a retrospective analysis demonstrated a potential link between the incidence of prostate cancer and its associated mortality according to racial or ethnic background.

Although race is a social construct, it has many environmental and cultural influences that contribute to a patient’s molecular makeup, Mahal says. Factors such as diet, exercise, environmental exposures, location, and experiences with racism may drive underlying alterations.

For example, those experiences could lead to more comorbid conditions or higher levels of cortisol, which may induce a molecular change in a patient’s genome, Mahal says.

As such, the findings suggest that more non-white men with prostate cancer should be included on clinical trials to inform molecular disparities between all patients and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the disease mechanisms, concludes Mahal.


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