Insightful Research Reveals Factors Impacting Poorer Cancer Outcomes in Elderly Males

Curated By: Navneet Vyasan

Last Updated: June 25, 2023, 11:27 IST

United States of America (USA)

Awareness of the significance of Y chromosome loss will stimulate discussions about the importance of considering sex as a variable in all scientific research in human biology. (Credits: Reuters)

This study for the first time makes a connection that has never been made before between loss of the Y chromosome and the immune system’s response to cancer

New research published in the journal Nature has discovered that the loss of the Y chromosome in aging men enables cancer cells to evade the immune system, leading to aggressive bladder cancer. The study, conducted by Dan Theodorescu, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer in California, USA, establishes a connection between Y chromosome loss and the immune system’s response to cancer.

Men have X-Y sex chromosomes, while women have X-X. Loss of the Y chromosome has been observed in several cancer types, including a significant percentage of bladder cancers.

The researchers reviewed data on two groups of men with bladder cancer. They found that men not being treated and experiencing Y chromosome loss had poorer prognosis and lower survival rates compared to those being treated with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

To understand this phenomenon, the investigators conducted experiments on mice. They found that tumors without the Y chromosome grew at a faster rate when the immune system was intact, suggesting that the loss of the Y chromosome exhausts T-cells and allows tumors to grow aggressively.

However, these Y chromosome-deficient tumors were also more responsive to immune checkpoint inhibitors, providing a potential treatment option.

Further research is needed to understand the genetic connection between Y chromosome loss and T-cell exhaustion. The findings of this study could have implications for the treatment of both men and women with certain cancers.

According to Dan Theodorescu, the significance of Y chromosome loss should be considered in all scientific research in human biology, as it may explain why certain cancers are worse in either men or women and how to best treat them.

 

Reference

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