Women, Tamoxifen, and Lung Cancer


One of my areas of interest is studying gender-related differences in lung cancer. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about interesting data that had come out of the Women’s Health Initiative study. This was the landmark study that established that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for postmenopausal women did more harm than good. When originally presented in 2002, the investigators noted significantly increased risks of

EGFR Inhibitors in Women and Men


Throughout their development over the past years, the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors Iressa (gefitinib) and Tarceva (erlotinib) have been identified as seeming to be particularly helpful in women compared with men. Only Tarceva is commercially available in the US, but Iressa is widely used in other parts of the world, including Asia, where it continues to be avidly used and studied. Both of these drugs have a consistently higher response rate in women, which has led to some different use patterns in women and men.

Better Results from Chemo in Women than in Men


While we are still working on figuring out the mechanisms underlying differences in the lung cancers of women vs. men, the efficacy and survival paint a consistent picture that women with lung cancer live longer than men regardless of the lung cancer subtype, stage, or treatment used (summary here). Large studies have reported that women have an approximately 15-20% improvement in survival, controlling for other variables, when compared to men.

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