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Scientists Link More Genes to Common Brain Tumor

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormalities in just five genes account for the majority of meningioma brain tumors, according to a new study.

Meningiomas are the most common type of brain tumor. They are usually benign but are cancerous in about 10 percent of cases. Surgery is the only treatment for meningiomas, but this finding could help lead to new therapies tailored to individual patients, according to the study authors.

Previous research found that about half of meningiomas were linked to a mutation or deletion of a gene called neurofibromin 2. The genetic origin of the other types of meningiomas was unknown.

In this study, researchers analyzed samples from 300 meningiomas and found that abnormalities in four other genes are also linked to the brain tumors. Each of these genes tends to be associated with tumors in different areas of the brain. Location can indicate how likely meningiomas are to become cancerous.

The study was published online Jan. 24 in the journal Science.

"Combining knowledge of these mutations with the location of tumor growth has direct clinical relevance and opens the door for personalized therapies," study senior author Murat Gunel, a professor of neurosurgery, genetics and neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., said in a university news release. Gunel is also a member of Yale Cancer Center's genetics and genomics research program.

Personalized therapies could include treating some patients with chemotherapy only or sparing vulnerable patients from radiation therapy, according to the release.

More information

The American Brain Tumor Association has more about meningiomas.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Jan. 24, 2013

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