Large-Scale Study Finds Genetic Errors Associated with Brain Cancer

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March 28, 2017

A new genetic study uncovered genetic variants associated with an increased risk of glioma. Gliomas are brain tumors that grows from the brain’s glial cells and can arise as Grade IV glioblastomas or as lower grade gliomas. Glioma tumors represent 24.7% of all primary brain tumors and 74.6% of all malignant brain tumors. For more on this, visit ABTA’s brain tumor statistics page.

Professor in Brain Tumor Research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and Scientific Principal Investigator for the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS), Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD, is a first author on this study. She says “because of the large sample size used in this study, for the first time we were able to assess if genetic risk was different for glioblastoma versus non-glioblastoma. Indeed their genetic risk profiles are different.”

The team conducted two new genomic studies and added their findings to data from previously existing studies. They identified 13 new genetic variants that can raise the risk of glioma, five of which were identified for glioblastoma (GBM), a very aggressive, Grade IV glioma. While these genes are associated with increased risk of developing a tumor, little is known about the other factors that may contribute to a glioma diagnosis.

These findings indicate that risk genes for GBM and non-GBM gliomas are different, and could affect our ability to identify people at high risk in the future.

To read more on this study, click here