Women are at higher risk of side effects from some cancer treatments – Consumer Health News

TUESDAY, Feb. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Gender differences extend to cancer treatments, with women having a higher risk of serious side effects from certain treatments than men, according to a new study.

Previous research has concluded that women tend to have more side effects from chemotherapy, and this new paper shows the same is true for immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

“It has been heard that women have more toxicity from chemotherapy than men, but almost no research has investigated whether this pattern applies to new treatments like immunotherapy or targeted therapies“said study leader Joseph Unger, a health services researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“We found similar large differences, especially for immune treatments,” he noted in a press release from the SWOG Cancer Research Network.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 23,000 patients enrolled in 200 cancer treatment trials conducted by the SWOG Network over 30 years. More than two-thirds of patients received chemotherapy, while the rest received either immunotherapy or targeted therapy.

Overall, patients experienced more than 274,000 side effects, and almost 65% had at least one serious side effect.

Women had a 34% higher risk of serious side effects than men. Women’s risk was higher for all three forms of therapy, particularly for immunotherapy, where they had a 49% higher risk than men.

Side effects included issues such as pain, nausea, or high blood pressure, while some were blood or bone marrow related.

The findings support the idea that gender may be an independent risk factor for side effects from these cancer treatments, the authors said.

A number of factors could explain the findings, including differences in how men and women report their symptoms, how their bodies process drugs, and how therapies are delivered to them, the researchers said.

The study’s findings could point to the development of gender-specific cancer treatments or changes in how – or how much – treatment is given to patients, they suggested.

“Increasingly, cancer treatments will be more individualized for patients,” Unger said. “These results indicate that patient gender may be an important consideration for individualized treatment, including novel novel treatments like immunotherapy.”

The results were published online this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More information

There is more on cancer treatment at US National Cancer Institute.

SOURCE: SWOG Cancer Network, press release, February 4, 2022

Comments are closed.