MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Han Liang PhD
Associate Professor and Deputy Department Chair, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Faculty Member, Baylor College of Medicine
MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Liang: An individual’s sex has been long recognized as a key factor affecting the risk of cancer development and management. However, previous studies on the sex effect have been limited to individual genes, single molecular data types, and single cancer lineages.
We performed a comprehensive analysis of molecular differences between male and female patients in a diversity of cancer types and revealed two sex-effect groups.
One group contains a small number of sex-affected genes, whereas the other shows much more extensive sex-biased molecular signatures. More than half of clinically actionable genes (e.g., therapeutic targets or biomarkers) show sex-biased signatures.
MedicalResearch: What should readers take away from your report?
Dr. Liang: For some cancer types, there are some intrinsic molecular-level differences are between the male and female cancer patients that have otherwise similar clinical and tumor characteristics. These differences should be considered in drug development and clinical practice.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Liang: Future efforts should further investigate the sex-biased signatures using additional patient cohorts and in other cancer types. The efforts should be made to incorporate these sex-biased signatures identified for better clinical trial design and clinical decisions.
MedicalResearch: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Liang: This study was made possible because The Cancer Genome Atlas has generated the comprehensive molecular profiling data over large patient cohorts across many cancer types.
Yuan Yuan, Lingxiang Liu, Hu Chen, Yumeng Wang, Yanxun Xu, Huzhang Mao, Jun Li, Gordon B. Mills, Yongqian Shu, Liang Li, Han Liang. Comprehensive Characterization of Molecular Differences in Cancer between Male and Female Patients. Cancer Cell, 2016; 29 (5): 711 DOI:10.1016/j.ccell.2016.04.001
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