Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulfate which is present at micromolar levels in the plasma, can be desulfated to supply free DHEA for metabolism to androgens or estrogens in peripheral tissues. Human cytosolic sulfotransferase (SULT) 2A1 catalyzes DHEA sulfation in the adrenal cortex. Three SULT2A1 nonsynonymous coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), identified only in African Americans (AA), are associated with decreased levels of activity and expression as compared to wild-type cDNA when expressed in COS cells. To test whether the SNPs are associated with decreased plasma androgens, 124 normal AA men were genotyped and plasma DHEA, DHEA-sulfate and testosterone levels determined. The two SNPs identified in these participants occurred at allelic frequencies of 0.044 (G187C) and 0.101 (G781A). The G187C SNP was highly linked to the G781A SNP. Although no differences in hormone levels were associated with the individual SNPs, a significant increase in the DHEA:DHEA-sulfate ratio was observed in participants with a heterozygous G187C/G781A genotype. Increased free DHEA levels may result in increased testosterone synthesis and stimulation in the prostate, therefore a group of AA prostate cancer (PC) patients and controls were genotyped. No significant association of the presence of the different SULT2A1 alleles with the occurrence of PC was detected. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.