Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors More Effective in Men Than Women for Advanced Cancers

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that men with advanced cancers respond better than women to treatment with anti-PD-1 or anti-CTLA-4 immune checkpoint inhibitors.

This article originally appeared on The American Journal of Managed Care.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet Oncology found

that men with advanced cancers respond better than women to treatment with anti-PD-1 or anti-CTLA-4 immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Researchers identified 20 eligible randomized controlled trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ipilimumab, tremelimumab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab) that reported overall survival according to patients’ sex. The 20 randomized trials were comprised of a total of 11,351 patients with advanced or metastatic cancers (7646 [67%] men and 3705 [32%] women).

The pooled overall survival hazard ratio (HR) was 0.72 (95% CI 0.65-0.79), or 28% lower risk of death in male patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, compared with men treated standard therapies in control groups. In women treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the pooled overall survival was 0.86 (95% CI 0.79-0.93), or 14% lower risk of death compared with control groups. Researchers identified that the difference in efficacy between men and women treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors was significant,

P

= .0019.

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors can improve overall survival for patients with advanced cancers such as melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer, but the magnitude of benefit is sex-dependent. The pooled reduction of risk of death was double the size for male patients than for female patients,” noted

the study authors.

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