Genetic Susceptibility Linked to Rare Brain Tumor

TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- A person's genetics may increase their risk of developing a radiation-associated brain tumor called meningioma, according to a new study of 525 families.

Ionizing radiation is the only known, clearly established risk factor for meningioma, note researchers at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel. They published their findings in the May issue of The Lancet Oncology journal.

"Our study showed that in families which included a member who developed radiation-associated meningioma, and in which additional siblings were irradiated, a high rate of meningioma and other radiation-related tumors was found," the study authors wrote.

"This contrasts with the rarity of familial meningioma in the general population and supports the notion that genetic susceptibility is involved in the development of these tumors."

The study authors concluded that future studies "should focus on the identification of specific genes that are involved in this inherited familial sensitivity to ionizing radiation. DNA repair and cell control genes, such as the ataxia-telangiectasia gene, could be plausible candidates for investigation."

The findings could have implications for current radiation protection standards, which assume the all people have uniform sensitivity to radiation, Eric Hall, a professor at the Center for Radiological Research of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

More information

The University of California, Los Angeles, has more about meningioma.

SOURCE: The Lancet Oncology, news release, April 24, 2007

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