Sex Disparity for Patients with Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: A Systematic Review

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The incidence of head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (HNcSCC) is unevenly distributed between men and women. At present, the mechanism behind this disparity remains elusive. This study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of proportions to investigate the disparity between sexes for patients with HNcSCC. PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Emcare and CINAHL were searched in November 2021 and June 2022 (N > 50, English, human), and studies which examined the association between sex and HNcSCC were included. Analysis was conducted using RStudio with data and forest plots displaying males as a proportion of total patients with HNcSCC. Two independent researchers performed study selection, data extraction, data analysis and risk of bias. Eighty-two studies (1948 to 2018) comprising approximately 186,000 participants (67% male, 33% female) from 29 countries were included. Significantly more males had HNcSCC overall (71%; CI: 67–74). Males were also significantly more affected by cSCC of the ear (92%; CI: 89–94), lip (74%; CI: 66–81), and eyelid (56%; CI: 51–62). This study found HNcSCC disproportionately affected males overall and across all subtypes. Improving our understanding of sex-specific mechanisms in HNcSCC will better inform our preventive, therapeutic and prognostic practices.

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