Prostate Cancer

Goal: This study will use existing samples from more than 600 MURDOCK Study participants in hopes of better understanding why African American men more frequently have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Researchers want to learn more about prostate cancer at the molecular level. This study has the potential to pave the way toward developing targeted approaches for prevention and treatment of the disease that could help reduce prostate cancer disparities for African Americans and improve outcomes for men of all races with aggressive disease.

Principal Investigator: Steven R. Patierno, PhD, steven patierno Deputy Director, Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) and Director, DCI Population Sciences and Health Service, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center

Lead Sub Investigator: Jennifer A. Freedman, PhD, jennifer freedmanAssistant Professor of Medicine and Chief Scientist of the Genitourinary Oncology Research Program, DCI and Duke University Medical Center

Study Information: African American men exhibit two-fold higher incidence and three-fold higher mortality rates from prostate cancer, compared with white men. In North Carolina, African American men are nearly 20% more likely to die from prostate cancer than their white counterparts. Much of this disparity remains after controlling for factors related to access to care. Previous work from the Patierno laboratory at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) in collaboration with the Lee laboratory at George Washington University (GWU) has used this difference between African American and white men to better understand tumor aggressiveness at the molecular level, as well as biomarkers and molecular targets that could help lead to new approaches for prevention and treatment.

The MURDOCK Study has identified more than 200 reported prostate cancer cases and will provide healthy samples for controls. Cases and controls will be confirmed via medical record, and biological specimens for confirmed cases and controls will be provided to the DCI for research and analysis.

This study represents collaboration between DTRI’s Population Health Research group, the MURDOCK Study and the Duke Cancer Institute’s GU Oncology, Cancer Control and Population Sciences and Biostatistics Programs.

Lead Postdoctoral Researcher: April Deveaux, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Genitourinary Oncology Laboratory, Department of Medicine, DCI and Duke University Medical Center

MURDOCK Study Project Lead: Douglas Wixted, MMCi, project leader for Strategy, Infrastructure & Informatics for Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Population Health Research


1. SEER State Fact Sheets: Prostate. Available from http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html.

2. Powell, I.J., et al., Evidence supports a faster growth rate and/or earlier transformation to clincially significant prostate cancer in black than in white American men, and influences racial progression and mortality disparity. J Ural, 2010. 183(5): p. 1792-6.

3. Powell, I.J. and A. Bollig-Fischer, Minireview: the molecular and genomic basis for prostate cancer health disparities. Mol Endocrinol, 2013. 27(6): p. 879-91

4. Wang, B.D., et al., Androgen receptor-target genes in african american prostate cancer disparities. Prostate Cancer, 2013: p. 763569.

5. Kwabi-Addo, B., et al., Identification of differentially methylated genes in normal prostate tissues from African American and Caucasian men. Clin Cancer Res, 2010. 16(14): p. 3539-47.

6. Wang, B.D., et al., Identification and Functional Validation of Reciprocal microRNA-mRNA Pairings in African American Prostate Cancer Disparities. Clin Cancer Res, 2015.





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