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.
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 avail
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University