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ESMO 2020 | Impact of biological sex on incidence, pathology and treatment responses to cancer

Anna D. Wagner, MD, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland, explains how biological sex influences cancer susceptibility and treatment options. Although behavioural aspects, such as higher rates of smoking and drinking have been correlated with higher incidence of oesophageal squamous cell cancer in men, sexual dimorphism also plays a role. For instances, women are more susceptible to right-side colorectal cancers and gastric adenocarcinomas. Dr Wagner sheds light on 5FU as a gastrointestinal cancer treatment regimen which yields better results amongst men, possibly related to lower plasma levels in men. As a result, 5FU treatment is associated with higher toxicity in women, which surprisingly does not correlate with higher efficacy. A further example of sexual dimorphism is seen in the treatment of resected biliary tract cancer with capecitabine, which yields a higher hazard ration in men. This interview was recorded via an online conference call with The Video Journal of Oncology (VJOncology).

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