(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Women have a consistent and independent relative advantage over men in all aspects of progression of localized melanoma that is most likely caused by an underlying biologic sex difference, investigators concluded in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online April 30.
Data were obtained from a total of 2,672 patients who had been previously diagnosed with stage I/II cutaneous melanoma and who had participated in four randomized, Phase 3 adjuvant treatment trials of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Melanoma Group (EORTC) during the period between 1984 to 2005.
A pooled analysis of these studies demonstrated that women had a highly consistent and independent advantage in overall survival (adjusted HR, 0.70), disease-specific survival (adjusted HR, 0.74), time to lymph node metastasis (adjusted HR, 0.70), and time to distant metastasis (adjusted HR, 0.69). This difference was independent of other prognostic factors, was consistent across all prognostic subgroups (with the possible exception of head and neck melanomas), and was found to persist at an older, postmenopausal age.
“Unraveling the underlying cause could be of therapeutic relevance,” they wrote. “Future work will focus on sex differences in metastasized melanoma, which could further affirm the biologic explanation hypothesis.”