LOS ANGELES - The Keck School of Medicine of USC is leading 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, funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, will look at the role of social stressors and genetics in the development of prostate cancer in African-American men. Researchers hope to recruit 10,000 African-American men nationwide to participate in the study.
"Not only are African-American men more likely to develop prostate cancer, but they are twice as likely to have an aggressive, more lethal form of the disease, and we don’t know why,” says the project's principal investigator Christopher Haiman, ScD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. "It's a health disparity that needs to be addressed. Considerable money, time and effort has gone into studies in men of European ancestry; it is time for a large-scale effort devoted to men of African ancestry."
The RESPOND study 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, Haiman explains.
Men participating in the study will also be asked to provide a saliva sample and to grant permission for researchers to access their prostate cancer biopsy tissue. The samples will be used to identify genetic markers for prostate cancer and tumor characteristics, with a special emphasis on aggressive prostate cancer. All donated biological samples will be used solely for research purposes.
"We plan to look at variations in DNA that are associated with prostate cancer overall and, more importantly, for aggressive forms of prostate cancer that are lethal. These genetic markers will ultimately help us to identify men in future generations who are at high and low risk for prostate cancer," Haiman says.
Other institutions participating in the study include Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Jersey State Cancer Registry, New Jersey Department of Health, Public Health Institute, Emory University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, LSU Health New Orleans, Baylor College of Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University and University of California, San Francisco.
Recruitment for the RESPOND study will begin in September 2018. For more information about the study and how to participate, visit respondstudy.org.
About the Keck School of Medicine of USC
Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is among the nation's leaders in innovative patient care, scientific discovery, education and community service. It is part of Keck Medicine of USC, the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. This includes Keck Medical Center of USC, composed of Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. The two world-class, USC-owned hospitals are staffed by more than 500 physicians who are faculty at the Keck School. The school has more than 1,750 full-time faculty members and voluntary faculty of more than 2,400 physicians. These faculty direct the education of approximately 800 medical students and 1,000 students pursuing graduate and postgraduate degrees. The school trains more than 900 resident physicians in more than 50 specialty or subspecialty programs and is the largest educator of physicians practicing in Southern California. Together, the school's faculty and residents serve more than 1.5 million patients each year at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, as well as USC-affiliated hospitals, Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. Keck School faculty also conduct research and teach at several research centers and institutes, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at USC, USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute, USC Institute of Urology, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, USC Roski Eye Institute and Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute.
In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Keck School among the top 35 medical schools in the country.
For more information, go to keck.usc.edu.