Brain tumors: worse in men


New research shows that men in their 20s and 30s have worse survival from many different types of brain tumors than women of the same age. And, researchers say, it's not exactly clear why.

Differences in treatment may mediate some of the association, but biologic sex itself appears to be a stronger risk factor for death, according to the study published online February 8 in Cancer.

Central nervous system (CNS) tumors rank among the top five cancers diagnosed in young adults aged 20-39 years.

Using the National Cancer Database, they identified 47,560 young adults aged 20-39 (47% male) diagnosed with a CNS tumor between 2004 and 2016.

After adjusting for relevant factors, males had a 47% increased risk of dying after a brain tumor diagnosis compared with females (hazard ratio [HR], 1.47; 95% CI, 1.41-1.53).

Males had significantly worse overall survival than females for all CNS tumors combined and for nine of 16 histologic types - namely, diffuse astrocytoma (HR, 1.30), anaplastic astrocytoma (HR, 1.25), glioblastoma (HR, 1.14), oligodendroglioma (HR, 1.37), oligoastrocytic tumors (HR, 1.22), ependymal tumors (HR, 1.29), other malignant gliomas (HR, 1.43), neuronal and mixed neuronal-glial tumors (HR, 1.52), and meningioma (HR, 2.01; all P < .05).

The researchers identified no histologies where females had worse survival.