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Cancer Snapshots: Disease Focused and Other Snapshots

  • Posted: 12/02/2013

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A Snapshot of Prostate Cancer

Incidence and Mortality

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States. It is estimated that, in 2013, nearly 239,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States, and nearly 30,000 men will die of the disease. African-American men have a higher incidence rate than and at least twice the mortality rate of men of other racial/ethnic groups.

Prostate cancer incidence rates in the United States rose dramatically in the late 1980s, when screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test came into wide use. Since the early 1990s, prostate cancer incidence has been declining. Mortality rates for prostate cancer also have declined since the mid-1990s.

Well-established risk factors for prostate cancer include increasing age, African ancestry, and a family history of prostate cancer. There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Standard treatments for prostate cancer include watchful waiting or active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy.

It is estimated that approximately $11.9 billion1 is spent each year in the United States on prostate cancer treatment.

Line graphs showing U.S. Prostate Cancer Incidence and  mortality per 100,000 Men, by race, between 1990-2010.   In 2010, African Americans have the highest incidence, followed by whites, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders. In 2010, African Americans have the highest mortality, followed by whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

Examples of NCI Activities Relevant to Prostate Cancer

Selected Advances in Prostate Cancer Research

Pie chart of NCI Prostate Cancer Research Portfolio.  Percentage of total dollars by scientific area.  Fiscal year 2012.  Biology, 24%.  Etiology/causes of cancer, 11%.  Prevention, 8%.  Early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis, 18%.  Treatment, 23%.  Cancer control, survivorship, and outcomes research, 12%.  Scientific model systems, 4%.
  • Results of a randomized clinical trial showed that, for men with localized prostate cancer detected by PSA testing, radical prostatectomy does not reduce mortality (from prostate cancer or from any cause) as compared with observation. Published July 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
  • Benign cells in the tumor microenvironment, when exposed to anticancer agents that damage DNA, secrete molecules that can promote prostate tumor cell treatment resistance and disease progression. Published September 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
  • The protein Siah2 may promote the growth of castration-resistant prostate cancer by influencing which of the genes that are regulated by the androgen receptor will be expressed. Published March 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
  • Men with more variable telomere length among prostate cancer cells and shorter telomere length in prostate-cancer-associated stromal cells had poorer prognosis. Published June 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
  • See this PubMed list of selected free full-text journal articles on NCI-supported research relevant to prostate cancer. You can also search PubMed for additional scientific articles or to complete a search tutorial.

Trends in NCI Funding for Prostate Cancer Research

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) investment2 in prostate cancer research increased from $285.4 million in fiscal year (FY) 2008 to $300.5 million in FY 2010 before decreasing to $265.1 million in FY 2012. In addition to this funding, NCI supported $68.4 million in prostate cancer research in FY 2009 and FY 2010 using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Bar graph of NCI Prostate Cancer Research Investment in 2008-2012: Fiscal year (FY) 2008, $285.4 million Prostate Cancer Funding of $4.83 billion Total NCI Budget. FY 2009, $293.9 million Prostate Cancer Funding of $4.97 billion Total NCI Budget. FY 2010, $300.5 million Prostate Cancer Funding of $5.10 billion Total NCI Budget.  FY 2011, $288.3 million Prostate Cancer Funding of $5.06 billion Total NCI Budget.  FY 2012, $265.1 million Prostate Cancer Funding of $5.07 billion Total NCI Budget.

Additional Resources for Prostate Cancer


  • 1 Cancer Trends Progress Report, in 2010 dollars.
  • 2 The estimated NCI investment is based on funding associated with a broad range of peer-reviewed scientific activities. For additional information on research planning and budgeting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), see About NIH.