Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 341–357 | Cite as

A review of African American-white differences in risk factors for cancer: prostate cancer

  • Irina Mordukhovich
  • Paul L. Reiter
  • Danielle M. Backes
  • Leila Family
  • Lauren E. McCullough
  • Katie M. O’Brien
  • Hilda Razzaghi
  • Andrew F. Olshan
Review article



African American men have higher prostate cancer incidence rates than White men, for reasons not completely understood. This review summarizes the existing literature of race-specific associations between risk factors and prostate cancer in order to examine whether associations differ.


We reviewed epidemiologic studies published between January 1970 and December 2008 that reported race-specific effect estimates. We focused mainly on modifiable risk factors related to lifestyle and health. A total of 37 articles from 21 study populations met our inclusion criteria.


We found no evidence of racial differences in associations between prostate cancer and alcohol intake, tobacco use, and family history of prostate cancer. Research suggests that a modest positive association may exist between height and prostate cancer risk (all prostate cancer and advanced prostate cancer) among Whites only. No clear patterns were observed for associations with physical activity, weight/body mass index, dietary factors, occupational history, sexual behavior, sexually transmissible infections, and other health conditions.


Our results suggest few differences in prostate cancer risk factors exist between racial groups and underscore areas where additional research is needed. Future studies should enroll higher numbers of African American participants and report results for advanced prostate cancer.


Prostate cancer Epidemiology Review Race African American 



This work was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute (grant number 2-T32-CA09330) and the Cancer Control Education Program at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (grant number R25 CA57726). Support was also provided in part by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (P30ES10126, T32ES007018). The authors have no financial or nonfinancial conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1452 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina Mordukhovich
    • 1
  • Paul L. Reiter
    • 2
    • 3
  • Danielle M. Backes
    • 1
  • Leila Family
    • 1
  • Lauren E. McCullough
    • 1
  • Katie M. O’Brien
    • 1
  • Hilda Razzaghi
    • 1
  • Andrew F. Olshan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyGillings School of Global Public Health, University of North CarolinaChapel HillNCUSA
  2. 2.Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationGillings School of Global Public Health, University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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