Kimmel Part of First Large-Scale Study of African-American Men with Prostate Cancer

The Kimmel Cancer Center is part of a $26.5 million effort to conduct the first large-scale, multi-institutional study on African-American men with prostate cancer to better understand why they are at higher risk for developing more aggressive forms of the disease and why they are more likely to die from it.

The RESPOND study, for Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Tumor Markers, and Social Stress, is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

“African-American men have been disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, and this study brings together researchers from across the country to figure out why, enabling the threat of prostate cancer to be reduced for all men,” said William Nelson, prostate cancer expert and Kimmel Cancer Center Director.

RESPOND will focus on both biological and social factors that may influence the development of prostate cancer in this group. Social stressors, such as discrimination, socioeconomic status, education, early life events and where men live, will be assessed via an online survey. Studies have shown that stress affects health, but little is known about whether stress has an impact on the development of aggressive prostate cancer.

“The overarching goal is to determine which factors contribute to poor outcomes among African-American men with prostate cancer so that we can begin to improve survival and decrease racial disparities in this disease,” says pathologist and prostate cancer expert Tamara Lotan, who will help perform centralized review of prostate tumor samples, noting changes related to adverse prognosis that should be studied more closely.

The study, which is expected to begin in fall 2018 and last for five years, is the first in any racial group to fully integrate genetic alterations with gene expression data, social determinants of health and markers of tumor aggression, she says.

Researchers hope to recruit 10,000 African-American men nationwide to participate in the study.

African-American men interested in participating in the study can learn more at: