- African-American men are at high risk for developing prostate cancer.
- Bald African-American men younger than 60 years of age were at greatest risk.
- Frontal balding increased risk of severe disease.
“We focused on African-American men because they are at high risk for developing prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than other groups in the United States,” said Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Although this is a high-risk group for poor prostate cancer outcomes, no published study had focused on evaluating baldness as a potential risk factor in a sample of African-American men.”
Zeigler-Johnson and her colleagues identified 318 men with prostate cancer and 219 controls among participants who enrolled in the Study of Clinical Outcomes, Risk and Ethnicity (SCORE) between 1998 and 2010. All of them were African-American and had varying degrees of baldness. They obtained information on type of baldness (none, frontal and vertex) and other medical history using a questionnaire.
The researchers found that any baldness was associated with a 69 percent increased risk of prostate cancer. In particular, African-American men with frontal baldness, and not vertex baldness, were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. This association was even stronger among men who were diagnosed when younger than 60, with a sixfold increase in high-stage prostate cancer and a fourfold increase in high-grade prostate cancer.
In addition, among younger men with prostate cancer, those with frontal baldness were more likely to have a high prostate-specific antigen level at diagnosis.
“Early-onset baldness may be a risk factor for early-onset prostate cancer in African-American men, particularly younger men,” said Zeigler-Johnson. “Pending future studies to confirm our results, there is a potential to use early-onset baldness as a clinical indicator of increased risk for prostate cancer in some populations of men.”
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.