Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relative Risk Of Brain Cancer: Tell Your Doctor If Tumors Run In The Family

Date:
November 13, 2008
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Doctors know that you’re at a higher risk for breast, colon and prostate cancers if they’ve been found in your family. Brain cancer can now be placed on that same list, says a new study by Tel Aviv University and the University of Utah.

Doctors know that you’re at a higher risk for breast, colon and prostate cancers if they’ve been found in your family. Brain cancer can now be placed on that same list, says a new study by Tel Aviv University and the University of Utah.

Dr. Deborah Blumenthal, co-director of Tel Aviv University’s Neuro-oncology Service at the Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, says that a family history of brain cancer, like those of other cancers, should be reported to the family doctor during a routine medical checkup.

The new study, using data from the Utah Population Data Base (UPDB) at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, was unique in the large number of cases examined, which tracked back at least three generations and as far as ten generations in some families. The brain tumors studied by the researchers include glioblastoma, the same tumor afflicting Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been undergoing treatment since June.

“Until now, brain tumors were not thought to be an inheritable disease,” says Blumenthal. “A few earlier studies did find an increased risk in immediate relatives, but in such cases it is hard to distinguish between the effects of a shared environment and heredity,” she notes.

Genetic Predisposition

Blumenthal, an affiliate associate professor at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute, and co-author Lisa Cannon-Albright, of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah, found that a family history of cancerous brain tumors does indeed increase one’s odds for succumbing to the disease ― in some cases, a four-fold increase. While the number of primary brain tumors that are inheritable remains low, these cases may provide insight into specific genetic susceptibilities that predispose an individual to primary brain tumors.

Reported in the current issue of Neurology, the study was conducted on medical records of nearly 1,500 people from Utah who had available genealogic material spanning at least three generations. Data dates back to the early 1800s. The study effectively eliminates environmental factors by looking at extended family relations.

“The study is unique in that that we were able to go back so far in tracking genealogy records,” notes Prof. Blumenthal. “Another special aspect of this study is that we’ve been able to identify high-risk pedigree families, in some cases with 5,000 or more descendants.”

Even if brain cancer already appears in your family, the likelihood of it occurring in descendants and relatives is still quite low. There are only about 17,000 primary brain tumors found in Americans every year, of which half are high grade. Less than 5% of these relatively rare brain cancers are hereditary. Consequently, the risk of inheriting the “genes” of a brain tumor from a parent or grandparent is low. What's exciting, she says, is that the scientific community now has a population of high-risk families they may be able to help and utilize to further genetic investigations.

Necessary Steps Before Prevention

With blood and tissue samples, researchers hope to find genes that are associated with brain tumors, and determine those at risk with greater certainty. Though such identification may be years away, this current study is foundational, setting the stage for early screening of people at risk so preventative measures can be taken before any tumor develops.

Prof. Blumenthal emphasizes, “The risks of having such a hereditary tumor are very low. Reporting to your family doctor that brain cancer runs in the family just gives a more comprehensive picture of your medical history. It may provide doctors and family members with useful information.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Relative Risk Of Brain Cancer: Tell Your Doctor If Tumors Run In The Family." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124414.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2008, November 13). Relative Risk Of Brain Cancer: Tell Your Doctor If Tumors Run In The Family. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124414.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Relative Risk Of Brain Cancer: Tell Your Doctor If Tumors Run In The Family." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124414.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins