Infections and Innate Immunity in Prostate Cancer Racial Disparities

Principal Investigator: SFANOS, KAREN
Institution Receiving Award: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Program: PCRP
Proposal Number: PC132011
Award Number: W81XWH-14-1-0364
Funding Mechanism: Health Disparity Research Award - New Investigator/Qualified Collaborator/Nested HD Traineeship
Partnering Awards:
Award Amount: $1,121,850.00


African-American (AA) men are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and are nearly 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian-American (CA) men. This disparity cannot be fully accounted for by disparities in access to care, financial barriers, and socioeconomic status - indicating that the increased mortality of AA men due to prostate cancer may also be due to distinctive characteristics of the tumors of AA men. The reason for differences in the tumors of AA men may be multifactorial and may include hereditary factors, diet and lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures. A very consistent finding in previous studies conducted on prostate cancer tissues from AA versus CA men is an indication that inflammation of the prostate may be more prevalent in tumors from AA men than those of CA men. This observation forms the basis for our current research proposal in which we aim to begin to determine how inflammation may contribute to prostate cancer racial disparities. Furthermore, as previous studies have also shown an increase in prostate cancer risk specifically in AA men with previous history of symptomatic prostate inflammation (i.e., prostatitis) or exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STI), we will aim to determine if infectious agents may serve as the stimulus for inflammation that may drive more aggressive prostate cancer in AA men. The proposed studies stand to reveal a tremendous amount of information regarding the biology of prostate cancer specifically in AA men, and the results of these studies may be used to understand why infections and inflammation may drive prostate cancer progression and metastasis in AA men. The benefit of these studies could be immediate, as these studies may also serve to assist in the development of therapeutic strategies that target infections agents or inflammation in prostate cancer prevention and/or treatment strategies.