Do Women Have a Favorable Advantage with Mesothelioma?


A new study of gender-specific mutations was found for the first time in a research study at the Women’s Hospital at Brigham International Mesothelioma Program (IMP). Research has shown that typically, women have better outcomes and a higher chance of survival than men with comparable diagnoses. The first step towards developing adequate treatments for those suffering from mesothelioma is identifying the various mutations and why women have the favored position when diagnosed.

Gender-Specific Outcome Study

The study called Gender-Specific Molecular & Clinical Features Underlie Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, conducted by a doctor at the Thoracic Surgery Oncology Lab at Brigham Women’s Hospital (BWH). The research revealed that molecular variations may explain the gender-specific outcomes noticed in women and men. Observations from the research included TP53 mutations, culprits in several types of cancers, yet not so much in cases involving mesothelioma.

In cases where the TP53 mutations were discovered, they were twice as likely to be found in female patients than their male counterparts. Additionally, results indicated reduced rates of the BAP1 mutation seen in non-epithelioid masses, a histological subtype known for poor prognoses. To fully understand these mutations, one may want to look for mutated genes in multiple patients and notice groups of commonly mutated genes that work together along “molecular pathways” within the cancerous cells.

Do Women Have an Advantage Genetically?

Investigating the differences amongst these mutations in women and men is essential when learning how to differentiate and create more personalized medical care. Determining whether women have an advantage genetically based on properties of molecular tumors includes recognizing their specific mutations to answer this question: Is there something we can learn about these cancerous genes that are in women to help us improve mesothelioma treatments for men? Analyzing the tumor genome and documenting the genetic differences allows one to see how the mutations interact. This will improve and provide new approaches for specific therapies.

Survival Rates

The five-year survival rate for women is estimated at 22% and 9% for men. The difference stretches even more when you are studying the numbers of patients that are younger than 50-years-old.

The cutting-edge assessment of mutations that are gender-specific may lead to more personalized treatments that will aid and advance the results for all men and women.

Mesothelioma Occurs More Often in Men

Research indicates about 3,000 people are diagnosed annually with mesothelioma in our country. Mesothelioma occurs more frequently in men than women. The median age for a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is 69.

The rate of mesothelioma diagnoses is no longer increasing as it used to. It now may be decreasing that we know more about its origin. The average survival rate is defined as the length of time a person can survive after the cancer is diagnosed. For patients with pleural mesothelioma who cannot undergo surgery, the average survival time is one year.

Prognosis Depends on Many Factors

Two important factors of how long a patient may live after being diagnosed depend on the age and type of mesothelioma. For example, patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma have a slow-growing tumor and usually live longer.

Sacramento Mesothelioma Lawyers

I'm Ed Smith, a Sacramento mesothelioma attorney. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, please call our injury attorneys at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 for free, friendly advice.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.8.21]

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels


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