Gender differences in antioxidant activity, DNA damage, and vasculature in ultraviolet light exposed skin. Abstract no. B144
A novel study in mice suggests that men are more prone to developing cancer than women because of gender differences in antioxidant levels and the ability to repair DNA damage.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that when exposed to the same degree of damaging ultraviolet (UV) light, the skin of male mice suffered more genetic damage than that of female mice. As a consequence, the male mice developed more squamous cell skin cancers, and these tumors formed faster and grew more aggressively than those that developed in the skin of female mice.
These results may explain why men develop three times as many squamous cell skin cancers as women do, and may also offer a clue as to why men are more prone to cancer development in general, says Kathleen Tober, Ph.D., a research scientist in Ohio States Department of Pathology.
Men get more skin cancer than women and it has classically been thought that the reason for this is lifestyle men spend more time outside and are less likely to use sun protection, Tober said. Our data suggests that while that may be a factor, an even more critical reason for this difference is that female skin may be better able to combat the damaging effects of UV exposure.
Based on our data, it would be a reasonable hypothesis that one of the underlying mechanisms for this is that men might have less overall antioxidant levels and diminished DNA repair capacity, she said.
Approximately half of the 2 million-plus cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. are non-melanoma skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, with 250,000 new cases annually, is the second most common cancer in the country. While it is
|Contact: Greg Lester|
American Association for Cancer Research