Male-female differences in the impact of cancer therapy.
Sex has been shown to be a significant predictor of cancer survival, with females living longer than males. This survival differential could occur because women benefit more than men from cancer treatments. This article reports the results of a study of the adequacy of the current clinical trials literature to examine sex differences in response to cancer therapy. All phase III (randomized) trials of cancers in non-sex-specific sites published between 1988 and 1990 were identified in three cancer-specific and four general medical journals. Of 55 studies that investigated outcomes by sex, 33% reported differences. Future studies should include adequate numbers of male and female participants, where appropriate, to allow generalization of study findings; routine reporting of the sex composition of the study sample in clinical trials reports; and routine analysis of the effects of sex on prognosis and responses to specific treatments.