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Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 251–263 | Cite as

Sexual dimorphism in solid and hematological malignancies

  • Isabel Ben-Batalla
  • María Elena Vargas-Delgado
  • Lara Meier
  • Sonja LogesEmail author
Review
  • 168 Downloads

Abstract

Cancer represents a leading cause of death with continuously increasing incidence worldwide. Many solid cancer types in non-reproductive organs are significantly more frequent and deadly in males compared to females. This sex-biased difference is also present in hematologic malignancies. In this review, we present an overview about sex differences in cancer with a focus on leukemia. We discuss mechanisms potentially underlying the observed sex-biased imbalance in cancer incidence and outcome including sex hormones, sex chromosomes, and immune responses. Besides affecting the pathobiology of cancers, sex differences can also influence drug responses, most notably those to immune checkpoint blockers. Therefore, sex should become a relevant factor in clinical trial design in order to avoid over- or under-treatment of one sex.

Keywords

Sex difference Sex hormones Immune system Leukemia 

Notes

Acknowledgements

S.L. is supported by a Heisenberg professorship and by the Schwerpunktprogramm mbone from the DFG (LO1863-4/1, SL1863/5-1), by the Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg (consortium sexual dimorphism in the immune system) and by the Margarethe Clemens Stiftung. I.B.B. is supported by the Schwerpunktprogramm mbone from the DFG (BE6658/1-1) and by the Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg (consortium sexual dimorphism in the immune system). M.E.V.D. is supported by the Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg (consortium sexual dimorphism in the immune system).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Ben-Batalla
    • 1
    • 2
  • María Elena Vargas-Delgado
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lara Meier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sonja Loges
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation with Section Pneumology, Hubertus Wald Tumorzentrum, Hubertus Wald Comprehensive Cancer Center HamburgUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Tumor Biology, Center of Experimental MedicineUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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