UZH researches gender aspects of cancer

Zurich – Researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) are investigating gender aspects of cancer. One possible theory is that the different genome structures could be responsible for a higher mortality rate in men compared to women with the same type of carcinoma.

Researchers at the Chair of Gender Medicine at the University of Zurich (UZH) are investigating gender aspects of cancer. According to a report by the university, the different genome distributions in women and men could be the reason why the mortality rate for similar cancers is higher in men. Such a finding would not invalidate previous assumptions that the different lifestyles of the respective sexes are primarily responsible for the death rate, but it would add further aspects to the findings. The researchers are working on the basis of the theory of molecular geneticists that women who have one X and one Y chromosome instead of two X chromosomes generate a stronger immune system. In contrast to the male genome, the female genome produces so-called tumor suppressor genes. Gender-specific differences are also observed in certain enzymes and hormones that could have an influence on strengthening the immune system.

However, diagnostic or therapeutic approaches are still reserved for preclinical and clinical studies in the current research phase.

"We do know that there are gender-specific differences in cancer," Anja Lorch, Deputy Director of the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology at the University Hospital Zurich (USZ), is quoted as saying in the report, "but the causes have not yet been researched enough to derive gender-specific therapies or preventive measures." ce/eb

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