Risk of Death From Brain Tumors Is Higher in Men, And Scientists Found Out Why

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According to a new study, increasingly more men die from brain tumors in comparison to women due to different genetic risk factors. That means, scientists said, the risk of death from brain tumors can be lowered by developing gender-specific therapies.

In their research, the scientists identified molecular signatures of glioblastoma which is the deadliest form of brain tumors, killing 50 percent of patients within 14 months after diagnosis. However, glioblastoma is a particular sort of brain tumor as it is twice more common in men than in women, so it was the ideal candidate for the researchers.

“It is our expectation this study could have an immediate impact on the care of patients with glioblastoma and further research. The findings indicate we should be stratifying male and female glioblastoma into risk groups and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment in a sex-specific manner. The biology of sex differences and its applications in medicine are highly relevant but almost always ignored aspects of personalized treatments,” said Professor Joshua Rubin from Washington University.

Scientists Found Out Why the Risk Of Death From Brain Tumors Is Higher in Men

Glioblastoma, one of the deadliest form of brain tumors, is commonly affecting people of over 50 years old and the standard therapy involves surgery to remove the brain tumor, followed up by chemo and radiation therapy. However the treatment against glioblastoma is not sufficient, and the majority of the tumors recur within six months.

However, according to the new study, brain tumors are more stubborn in men than in women, and men do not respond as good as women to temozolomide treatment which is usually applied in glioblastoma cases.

“We observed tremendous genetic sex differences in the tumors of glioblastoma patients that correlated with survival. All evidence supports the need to define these distinctions and incorporate the sex differences into glioblastoma biology research and treatment,” said Dr. Rosy Luo, the study’s co-author.

“We identified genetic pathways that correlated with the longest survival – and they were very different in males compared with females. For example in males survival was all about regulating cell division, which suggests that drugs that block cell-cycle progression may be more effective in men. For females, survival was all about regulating invasiveness, which suggests that drugs targeting integrin signaling may be more effective in women,” explained Dr. Rubin.


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