The potential role of precision medicine to alleviate racial disparities in prostate, bladder and renal urological cancer care

Kunal K. Sindhu, Zachary Dovey, Marcher Thompson, Anthony D. Nehlsen, Karin A. Skalina, Beata Malachowska, Shaakir Hasan, Chandan Guha, Justin Tang, Lucas Resende Salgado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Racial disparities in oncological outcomes resulting from differences in social determinants of health (SDOH) and tumour biology are well described in prostate cancer (PCa) but similar inequities exist in bladder (BCa) and renal cancers (RCCs). Precision medicine (PM) aims to provide personalized treatment based on individual patient characteristics and has the potential to reduce these inequities in GU cancers. Objective: This article aims to review the current evidence outlining racial disparities in GU cancers and explore studies demonstrating improved oncological outcomes when PM is applied to racially diverse patient populations. Evidence acquisition: Evidence was obtained from Pubmed and Web of Science using keywords prostate, bladder and renal cancer, racial disparity and precision medicine. Because limited studies were found, preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were not applied but rather related articles were studied to explore existing debates, identify the current status and speculate on future applications. Results: Evidence suggests addressing SDOH for PCa can reverse racial inequities in oncological outcomes but differences in incidence remain. Similar disparities in BCa and RCC are seen, and it would be reasonable to suggest achieving parity in SDOH for all races would do the same. Research applying a PM approach to different ethnicities is lacking although in African Americans (AAs) with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPCa) better outcomes have been shown with androgen receptor inhibitors, radium-223 and sipuleucel. Exploiting the abscopal effect with targeted radiation therapy (RT) and immunotherapy has promise but requires further study, as does defining actionable mutations in specific patient groups to tailor treatments as appropriate. Conclusion: For all GU cancers, the historical underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in clinical trials still exists and there is an urgent need for recruitment strategies to address this. PM is a promising development with the potential to reduce inequities in GU cancers, however, both improved understanding of race-specific tumour biology, and enhanced recruitment of minority populations into clinical trials are required. Without this, the benefits of PM will be limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-425
Number of pages21
JournalBJUI Compass
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • genito-urinary cancers
  • precision medicine
  • racial disparity
  • social determinants of health
  • trial recruitment
  • tumour biology


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