Racial disparities and considerations for active surveillance of prostate cancer
Active surveillance (AS) for the management of low-risk prostate cancer has been increasing and in the general population appears safe, allowing for a reduction in the harms of prostate cancer screening such as overtreatment. African-American (AA) men have overall worse outcomes from prostate cancer compared to Caucasian-American (CA) men for a variety of socioeconomic, cultural and possibly biologic reasons, thus complicating the use of AS in this population. Strategies for optimizing care and mitigating risk in this population include pursuing close surveillance with steadfast patient compliance, the use of multiparametric MRI with targeted biopsies including the anterior prostate to reduce the risk of undersampling, as well as a judicious and thoughtful incorporation of novel molecular biomarkers for risk stratification. Currently, there exists no direct data to suggest that AS cannot be safely carried out in AA men following an informed discussion and after engaging in shared decision making. Physicians should have a low threshold for consideration of definitive therapy. Additional efforts should be made in increasing the engagement of minority participants in clinical trials, to gain an improved representation of underserved populations in future research.