Relationship of Early-Onset Baldness to Prostate Cancer in African-American Men


Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Research Assistant Professor CCEB
University of Pennsylvania

MEDICALRESEARCH.COM: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: The main findings of the study are:

  • Younger African-American men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at an early age (under the age of 60) are more likely to have had a personal history of early-onset baldness (baldness by age 30.)
  • For older patients, this is not necessarily the case, and future studies will need to focus on which factors place men in this age group at risk for prostate cancer.

MEDICALRESEARCH.COM: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Zeigler-Johnson:  We were surprised to find the association of early onset baldness and prostate cancer only in younger prostate cancer cases and in more advanced cases.  Other studies have not typically considered the age at diagnosis or the stage and grade of disease in the outcome.

Frontal baldness rather than vertex (crown) balding was associated most strongly with advanced prostate cancer among younger African-American men.  This is different from the vertex baldness association that has been reported among other studies with very few African-Americans.

MEDICALRESEARCH.COM: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Zeigler-Johnson:  Our study findings suggest to clinicians and patients that early baldness may one day be a clinical indicator of increased risk for prostate cancer.  In other words, men that experience baldness at an early age may also have a predisposition for developing prostate cancer because of certain male hormones that are common in both baldness and prostate cancer progression. However, these findings need to be confirmed by other studies so that we can be certain of the relationship that we observed in this study which was the first study to focus exclusively on this relationship in African-American men.

MEDICALRESEARCH.COM: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: Recommendations for future research include confirming these results with other populations of high risk patients (including other populations of African descent), determining if early onset baldness is associated with other prostate cancer outcomes, and understanding more about the biological link between baldness and prostate cancer.


Relationship of Early-Onset Baldness to Prostate Cancer in African-American Men

Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Knashawn H. Morales, Elaine Spangler, Bao-Li Chang, and Timothy R. Rebbeck
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers PrevPublished OnlineFirst March 26, 2013; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0944


Last Updated on March 19, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD