Why are women more at risk of adrenal cancer?
Adrenocortical cancers (tumours of the adrenal gland) are a rare but highly aggressive disease. In mice and humans there is a clear sex bias with females approximately three times more likely to develop this cancer than males. The biological basis for this sex difference is unclear, but an understanding of the molecular processes responsible might help develop sex-specific treatments or preventive strategies.
Dr Andreas Schedl and his team at INSERM, France, have developed a mouse model of adrenal cancer which shows similar sex-difference patterns of cancer seen in humans. They now want to use this mouse model to work out what is going on at a molecular level in the adrenal that causes this difference. They are particularly interested in the processes that cause stem cells within the adrenal to divide uncontrollably.