Loss of Y chromosome in men enables cancer to grow

June 23, 2023
Cedars-Sinai Cancer investigators elucidate how this process allows bladder tumors to evade the immune system but also makes them vulnerable to a common treatment.

As men age, some of their cells lose the very thing that makes them biological males—the Y chromosome—and this loss hampers the body’s ability to fight cancer, according to new research from Cedars-Sinai Cancer.

The study, published in Nature, found that loss of the Y chromosome helps cancer cells evade the body’s immune system. This common impact of the aging process in men results in aggressive bladder cancer, but somehow also renders the disease more vulnerable—and responsive—to a standard treatment called immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Based on their research, investigators are developing a test for loss of the Y chromosome in tumors with the goal of helping clinicians tailor immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment for male patients with bladder cancer.

Cedars-Sinai release