Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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46 Clinical OMICs March/April 2019 www.clinicalomics.com I t is widely appreciated that sex differences play a role in both the incidence of and treatment outcomes of many diseases, including some cancers. New research provides an understanding of this phenomenon for glioblastoma (GBM), the most common malignant brain tumor, through the identification of sex-specific molecular pathways. This work not only helps to explain why men die of GBM brain cancer at a higher rate than women, but may also help improve outcomes for patients by pursuing sex-specific approaches to treatment. Not only is the incidence of GBM different between males and females, but, recent work in the GBM field suggests that patient outcomes vary as well, with female sex associated with longer survival. A collaborative team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, Trans- lational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Case Western Reserve University, report findings in a study published in Science Translational Medicine, entitled, "Sex differences in GBM revealed by analysis of patient imaging, transcriptome, and survival data," that could lead to tailored drug treatments. More spe- cifically, treatments designed for men and women based on their sex-specific molecular subtype. "This is a large leap forward in the field," noted Quinn Ostrom, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate at the Duncan Can- cer Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, who was not involved in this paper but has collaborated with Rubin, the senior author, in the past. She told Clinical OMICs that, "It has long been observed that there is a female survival advantage in GBM, but the mechanism through which sex confers this survival advantage has not been known" and that "this analysis by Yang et al. demonstrates that there are identifiable biological differences between males and females with GBM that contribute to these differences." To do this, the group of Joshua Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., pro- fessor of pediatrics in hematology and oncology at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and senior author on the study, performed quantitative analyses of therapeutic responses in male and female patients with GBM using an MRI-based imaging method. By calculating tumor growth velocities of 63 GBM patients (40 males and 23 females) every two months, the researchers found that standard therapy is more effective in females compared with male patients with GBM. "The males did not respond as well, and we wanted to understand why, so we looked at the underlying genetics of Cancer Outcomes May Be Improved by Tailoring Treatments Based on Sex Differences By Julianna LeMieux, Ph.D. Glioblastoma Sex Differences Uncovered Science Photo Library - SCIEPRO / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

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