Researchers have found a significant difference in overall survival in men versus women receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors for advanced cancers. The findings from the systematic review and meta-analysis were reported in Lancet Oncology.

Database searches found 20 trials of ipilimumab, tremelimumab, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab that included a total of 11,351 patients with advanced or metastatic disease. The pooled overall survival hazard ratios (HRs) were 0.72 for male patients and 0.86 for female patients, a significant difference. Subgroup analyses for cancer type, line of treatment, type of immune checkpoint inhibitor, and control group showed similar results.

The researchers concluded that future research should include more women in clinical trials and focus on improving treatment effectiveness in women, “perhaps exploring different immunotherapeutic approaches in men and women.”