Racial/ethnic differences in serum sex steroid hormone concentrations in US adolescent males. Cancer Causes & Control. April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 817-826
OBJECTIVE: Contrary to the hypothesis that the racial/ethnic disparity in prostate cancer has a hormonal basis, we did not observe a difference in serum testosterone concentration between non-Hispanic black and white men in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), although non-Hispanic black men had a higher estradiol level. Unexpectedly, Mexican–American men had the highest testosterone level. Next, we evaluated whether the same patterns are observed during adolescence, the time of prostate maturation.This sample is not large, and some of the statistical adjustments may be questionable. But others have also failed to find black-white differences in testosterone among adolescents in unadjusted NHANES data; nor were they seen in a larger study of adolescents,
METHODS: We measured serum testosterone, estradiol, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) by immunoassay in 134 males aged 12–19 in NHANES III. Mean concentrations were compared by race/ethnicity adjusting for age, Tanner stage, percent body fat, waist, physical activity, tobacco smoke, and the other hormones.
RESULTS: After multivariable adjustment, in the 12–15-year-old males, testosterone concentration was lower in non-Hispanic blacks than whites (p = 0.043), SHBG concentration did not significantly differ between the two groups. Mexican–Americans had the highest testosterone (versus non-Hispanic black: p = 0.002) and lowest SHBG (versus non-Hispanic white: p = 0.010; versus non-Hispanic black: p = 0.047) concentrations. Estradiol concentration was lower in non-Hispanic blacks (p = 0.11) and Mexican–Americans (p = 0.033) compared with non-Hispanic whites. After multivariable adjustment, in the 16–19-year-old males, testosterone, estradiol, and SHBG concentrations did not differ between non-Hispanic blacks and whites. Mexican–Americans had the highest testosterone concentration (versus non-Hispanic white: p = 0.08), but did not differ from the other groups on estradiol and SHBG concentrations. In both age groups, these patterns were generally present, but less pronounced after adjusting for age and Tanner stage only.
CONCLUSION: In adolescent males, non-Hispanic blacks did not have a higher testosterone concentration than non-Hispanic whites, and Mexican–Americans had the highest testosterone concentration, patterns similar to adult males.
A large biracial cross-section of 1038 healthy children aged 6-18 yr with 519 blacks, 519 whites, 678 males, and 360 females was evaluated for Tanner stage and serum levels of androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone- sulfate, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. The anthropometric values of the blacks and whites were very similar at each Tanner stage with only minor differences in age, height, and weight related to an earlier onset of puberty in blacks. The hormones dehydroepiandrosterone- sulfate, progesterone, and testosterone did not exhibit any racial differences. Estradiol showed a significantly higher level among black males compared to white males (P 5 0.05) whereas androstenedione was significantly higher in both white males (P = 0.0001) and females (P I 0.01) compared with blacks.