While studies have established the existence of differences in the epidemiological and clinical patterns of lung adenocarcinoma between male and female patients, we know relatively little regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying such sex-based differences.
In this study, we explore said differences through a meta-analysis of transcriptomic data. We performed a meta-analysis of the functional profiling of nine public datasets that included 1366 samples from Gene Expression Omnibus and The Cancer Genome Atlas databases. Meta-analysis results from data merged, normalized, and corrected for batch effect show an enrichment for Gene Ontology terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways related to the immune response, nucleic acid metabolism, and purinergic signaling.
We discovered the overrepresentation of terms associated with the immune response, particularly with the acute inflammatory response, and purinergic signaling in female lung adenocarcinoma patients, which could influence reported clinical differences.
Further evaluations of the identified differential biological processes and pathways could lead to the discovery of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Our findings also emphasize the relevance of sex-specific analyses in biomedicine, which represents a crucial aspect influencing biological variability in disease.