Among glioblastoma patients, women may derive more benefit from immunotherapy than men, research suggests.

Researchers found that, in trials of immunotherapy for glioblastoma patients, women had significantly longer survival than men. These findings were presented in a poster at the Society for Neuro-Oncology 27th Annual Meeting.

“GBM [glioblastoma] has a male bias for incidence, leading us to believe there may be sexually dimorphic behavior at play,” the researchers wrote. “Because of limited access to patient sex data in GBM clinical trials, it is still unclear how sex differences in the immune system correspond to immunotherapeutic outcomes and survival rates.”

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To assess the effect of sex differences on the immune system and glioblastoma outcomes following immunotherapy, the researchers analyzed data for sex-specific genes (expression >2.5x) from the Sex-Associated Gene Database. They also conducted a meta-analysis of glioblastoma data from published immunotherapy trials.

Gene set enrichment analysis revealed that women had enriched immunological signatures. The researchers also found that sex-specific genes were clustered within the Y chromosome in men but showed more of a whole-genome distribution in women.

The researchers analyzed data from 10 trials of glioblastoma patients who received immunotherapy, including 5 trials in which patients received vaccine-based immunotherapy.

There was a significant survival advantage at 1 year in women vs men treated with immunotherapy (risk ratio [RR], 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02-1.30; P =.0241). This effect was more pronounced with vaccine-based immunotherapy (RR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.05-1.58; P =.0158).

“There is a measurable survival difference in females compared to males in GBM immunotherapy trials,” the researchers wrote. “Patient sex data needs to be made available for all GBM clinical trials in order to fully understand this effect.”

Disclosures: The study authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest.


Shireman J, Ammanuel S, Eickhoff J, et al. Sexual dimorphism of human immune system predicts clinical outcomes in glioblastoma immunotherapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Presented at SNO 2022; November 16-20, 2022. Abstract CTIM-33.