Comprehensive Characterization of Molecular Differences in Cancer between Male and Female Patients

Yuan Yuan, Lingxiang Liu, Hu Chen, Yumeng Wang, Yanxun Xu, Huzhang Mao, Jun Li, Gordon B. Mills, Yongqian Shu, Liang Li, Han Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


An individual's sex has been long recognized as a key factor affecting cancer incidence, prognosis, and treatment responses. However, the molecular basis for sex disparities in cancer remains poorly understood. We performed a comprehensive analysis of molecular differences between male and female patients in 13 cancer types of The Cancer Genome Atlas and revealed two sex-effect groups associated with distinct incidence and mortality profiles. One group contains a small number of sex-affected genes, whereas the other shows much more extensive sex-biased molecular signatures. Importantly, 53% of clinically actionable genes (60/114) show sex-biased signatures. Our study provides a systematic molecular-level understanding of sex effects in diverse cancers and suggests a pressing need to develop sex-specific therapeutic strategies in certain cancer types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-722
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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