Sex and gender are increasingly being recognised as important modifiers of health, disease and medicine [1-3]. Sex and gender analysis has been shown to improve science , and as such research on this topic is being undertaken in a number of fields. Cardiologists initiated extensive research on this topic more than 20 years ago, and the US National Institutes of Health have requested that sex as a biological variable is factored into cellular and animal studies for years . Despite this, oncology has been largely sex- and gender blind in recent years and sex differences in efficacy and toxicity of systemic treatments have been an undervalued issue . Taking into account the increasing evidence for a sexual dimorphism in cancer [6-9], referring to differences in biology between non sex-related cancers arising in women and in men, ESMO decided to address this topic, and organized a first workshop “Gender Medicine and Oncology” in 2018 . Following the success of this workshop, the ESMO Gender Medicine Task Force was created.
The mission of the Task Force is to raise awareness of the presence of potential sex and gender differences in the biology and treatment outcomes of non-sex related cancers.
Activities and Responsibilities:
- To serve as a resource for ESMO to develop material for the society’s educational programmes.
- To encourage oncology professional to consider sex and gender aspects in their education, research and practice
- To develop educational resources to help oncologists understand sex and gender differences in the biology and the impact on the treatment outcomes of non-sex related cancers
The Gender Medicine Task Force was launched in 2019 and has a mandate of four years. The Task Force sits within the Education Division reporting to Florian Lordick as Director of Education.
- Anna Dorothea Wagner, Switzerland
Task Force Members
- Alex Adjei, USA
- Sven Borchmann; Germany
- John Haanen, Netherlands
- Anne Letsch, Germany
- Olivier Mir, France
- Alexander Quaas, Germany
- Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, Netherlands
- Berna Özdemir, Switzerland
- Rob Verhoeven, Netherlands
- Mauvais-Jarvis F, Bairey Merz N, Barnes PJ, et al. Sex and gender: modifiers of health, disease, and medicine. Lancet 2020; 396(10250): 565-82.
- Bartz D, Chitnis T, Kaiser UB, et al. Clinical Advances in Sex- and Gender-Informed Medicine to Improve the Health of All: A Review. JAMA Intern Med 2020; 180(4): 574-83.
- Heise L, Greene ME, Opper N, et al. Gender inequality and restrictive gender norms: framing the challenges to health. Lancet 2019; 393(10189): 2440-54.
- Clayton JA, Collins FS. Policy: NIH to balance sex in cell and animal studies. Nature 2014; 509(7500): 282-3.
- Ozdemir, B.C., et al., Sex Differences in Efficacy and Toxicity of Systemic Treatments: An Undervalued Issue in the Era of Precision Oncology. J Clin Oncol, 2018. 36(26): p. 2680-2683.
- Tannenbaum C, Ellis RP, Eyssel F, Zou J, Schiebinger L. Sex and gender analysis improves science and engineering. Nature 2019; 575(7781): 137-46.
- Clocchiatti A, Cora E, Zhang Y, Dotto GP. Sexual dimorphism in cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 2016; 16(5): 330-9.
- Rubin, J.B., et al., Sex differences in cancer mechanisms. Biol Sex Differ, 2020. 11(1): p. 17.
- Haupt, S., et al., Sex disparities matter in cancer development and therapy. Nat Rev Cancer, 2021. 21(6): p. 393-407.
- Wagner AD, Oertelt-Prigione S, Adjei A, et al. Gender Medicine and Oncology: Report and consensus of an ESMO Workshop. Ann Oncol 2019.