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J Urol. 2004 Jun;171(6 Pt 1):2277-80.

Racial differences in prostate androgen levels in men with clinically localized prostate cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.



We sought to determine whether there are racial differences in androgenic stimulation within the prostate tissue microenvironment.


Steroid hormones were extracted from snap frozen tissue obtained intraoperatively from radical prostatectomy specimens of 36 black and 59 white Americans. Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione (ASD), dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and prostate specific antigen (PSA) were measured using radioimmunoassay. The Wilcoxon 2 group test was performed to compare clinical characteristics and tissue steroid levels between white and black Americans. Nonparametric rank ANOVA was used to consider race and other clinical factors in a multivariable way.


Black and white American men were similar with respect to serum PSA, and pathological grade and stage. However, black men were younger (p = 0.01) and had a significantly higher body mass index (p = 0.02). Black and white men had similar testosterone and DHT. However, black men had higher ASD (p = 0.006) and SHBG (p = 0.009). Racial differences in ASD (p = 0.015) and SHBG (p = 0.008) persisted after controlling for age, body mass index, PSA, and pathological Gleason sum and stage.


Tissue levels of testosterone and DHT did not differ by race. However, black men had higher tissue ASD and SHBG than white men. Higher tissue ASD did not result in a greater conversion of ASD to testosterone in the prostate of black men. Higher tissue SHBG may activate the androgen receptor through cyclic adenosine monophosphate dependent pathways.

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