Fact: Glioblastomas, the deadliest of all brain cancers, afflict many more men than women. Reason? Not clear, so far. However, in a recent paper, researchers from Washington University have said that this may be because of the relative inactivity among men of a protein that reduced cancer risk. Dr. Joshua Rubin and his colleagues began their research efforts by exposing male and female brain cells to a tumor growth factor and a number of genetic alterations.
The three protective genes named neurofibromin, p53 and RB retard tumor growth by restricting cell division and survival. In many cancers these are disabled or mutated. The study uncovered the fact that the RB protein was far less active among men as compared to women. The researchers also found out that if they disabled this protein among women then they became as susceptible to the tumour as men.