Family History Adds to Risk

For the study, researchers looked at the medical records of 1,401 people from Utah with primary brain tumours. Family medical history information was available for at least three generations for each participant. The group had at least one of two types of tumours: glioblastomas or astrocytomas. Glioblastomas are a category of astrocytomas that are cancerous and usually fast growing and deadly. Astrocytomas are tumours in the brain or spinal cord of a less aggressive grade than glioblastomas.

The study found that people whose immediate relatives suffered from glioblastomas had twice the risk of contracting the same kind of brain cancer. People with immediate relatives who had astrocytomas were nearly four times more likely to develop the same kind of tumour compared to people who did not have immediate relatives with the brain tumour.

“Our study suggests that people with a family history of brain tumours should make their doctor aware of this and tell them about any other risk factors they have,” said study author Deborah Blumenthal, Medical Doctor with the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

“Hopefully studies like these will eventually help us to identify genes that may be responsible for these types of brain tumours”, she said. Blumenthal highlights that an estimated 20,500 cases of new primary brain tumours were diagnosed in the United States in 2005, half of which were gliomas, or cancerous brain tumours.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN)