Biomarker signature predicts aggressive disease among African-American men with prostate cancer

Posted February 4, 2016
Dr. Kosj Yamoah, Moffitt Cancer Center

Dr. Kosj Yamoah African American men have a higher incidence of mortality from prostate cancer than European American men. This disparity can only be partially explained by socio-economic factors and increasing evidence suggests that underlying genetic differences between the two groups are a major contributor. Decision-making to pursue active surveillance as opposed to more aggressive treatment options is important and challenging for prostate cancer patients and involves weighing the balance between life expectancy, clinical benefits, and treatment side effects. Recently, several biomarkers have been shown to correlate with aggressive phenotypes of prostate cancer and may be used as an important tool to aid in the decision-making process. However, the relevance of these biomarkers in the African American population is largely unknown.

Dr. Kosj Yamoah, a physician scientist and former postdoctoral fellow at Thomas Jefferson University, sought to determine the significance of biomarkers of aggressive prostate in African American men compared to European American men. With support from a FY12 Postdoctoral Training Award, Dr. Yamoah identified a set of six prostate cancer biomarkers that show differences in the biology and pathogenesis of the disease between the two groups. Furthermore, he found that African American men have a distinctly different type of prostate cancer than their European American counterparts. Specifically, he determined that African American men had a significantly greater proportion of triple-negative disease, lacking expression of three biomarker genes often found in European American patients. These novel biomarker signatures may help clinicians identify aggressive versus indolent prostate cancer in African American men to help guide treatment options.

Now an Assistant Professor at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, Dr. Yamoah's research remains focused on addressing prostate cancer disparities in African Americans, and is currently working to bring his research even closer to helping prostate cancer patients. His recent results show that some African American men with prostate cancer may have a better chance of survival if they are treated with a different approach than the standard of care. He also plans to refine the set of biomarkers that will capture these differences in order to develop decision-making and treatment approaches to help reduce the disparities in outcomes for African Americans.

Figure from Dr. Yamoah

ETS variant subtyping by ethnicity and pathologic Gleason score. Triple negative represent ERG-, ETS-, and SPINK1-. AAM, African American Men; EAM, European American men.

Research Links:

Yamoah K, Johnson M, Choeurng V, et al. A novel biomarker signature that may predict aggressive disease in African American men with prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2015. Sep 1; 33(25):2789-2796.

Yamoah K, Walker A, Whittemore A, et al. African American race is a predictor of seminal vesicle invasion following radical prostatectomy. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2015. Apr; 13(2):e65-72.

Yamoah K, Deville C, Vapiwala N, et al. African American men with low-grade prostate cancer have increased disease recurrence after prostatectomy compared with Caucasian men. 2015. Feb; Urol Oncol 33(2):70e15-22.


Public and Technical Abstracts: Novel Nomogram That Predicts Aggressive Disease and Treatment Failure Among African-American Men with Prostate Cancer

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Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022