Women survive lung cancer better than men
Elderly women with lung cancer have significantly better survival rates than men, regardless of the type of treatment, according to the results of a new.
It has not been clear if women’s survival advantage “results from better response to treatment, different tumor biology, or a longer life expectancy,” Dr. Juan P. Wisnivesky and Dr. Ethan A. Halm, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, write in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Using data from a government cancer registry and Medicare records, the team identified 18,967 elderly patients with stage I or II lung cancer, diagnosed between 1991 and 1999. The subjects were grouped into three categories based on the treatment they received: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy but no surgery, or no treatment.
Compared with men, women in all treatment groups had better survival rates, and rates remained better among women than men after adjusting for factors that might affect outcomes. Potential differences in smoking between men and women did not explain the survival differences.
“The reasons for this survival advantage have not been identified,” the investigators note. “Hormonal influences may play a role in lung cancer progression ... and hormones have also been linked to the pathogenesis of lung cancer,” they point out.
Additionally, the survival benefit seen among women may be associated with genetic and metabolic factors.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, May 1, 2007.
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