New genetic risk factors identify two distinct glioma subtypes

March 27, 2017, Baylor College of Medicine
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An international consortium of researchers led by Dr. Melissa Bondy, professor of medicine, associate director for population sciences at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center and McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine, has conducted the largest study to date of malignant brain tumors looking for genetic markers of glioma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. In 2017, approximately 24,000 people will be diagnosed with malignant brain tumors and 17,000 will die from the disease in the United States. The most common form of malignant brain tumor is glioblastoma, which has a 5-year survival rate of less than 6 percent.

Bondy brought together an international consortium of researchers from 14 cancer centers. The researchers analyzed millions of genetic variants from nearly 12,500 individuals with glioma and 18,000 without the disease. The data were obtained via genome-wide association analysis, an approach that involves scanning for markers on complete genomes in humans. The results appear in Nature Genetics.

"Until now our understanding of the risks of developing glioma has been limited," Bondy said. "In this work we confirmed 13 previously identified markers and uncovered 13 new genetic markers associated with this aggressive disease. We now have a more comprehensive genetic profile of the disease spectrum that expands our understanding of glioma susceptibility."

"For the first time, our study was able to assess a clear difference between the profiles of the genetic risk factors of high-grade glioblastoma versus low-grade glioma," said co-first author Dr. Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, professor and co-director of the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core Facility at Case Western Reserve University.

"This work has revealed a set of genetic factors that are involved in glioma development," said co-first author Dr. Beatrice Melin, professor and head of the Regional Cancer Center North at Umeå University in Sweden. "Understanding how glioma develops opens the possibility for developing better surveillance, diagnostics and treatment."

"By bringing together so many existing and new data sources, this study lays the groundwork for other more targeted analyses of glioma risk," said co-first author Dr. Margaret Wrensch, professor in residence of neurological surgery and epidemiology and biostatistics and Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research at the University of California, San Francisco.

Next steps

The discovered through this study are linked to higher susceptibility for developing tumors; however, each genetic marker only gives a modest increase in the risk.

"Next steps will be to correlate these inherited variants with genetic profiles of patients' tumors, which could lead to the development of more precise or targeted treatments," Bondy said.

Explore further: History of chicken pox may reduce risk of brain cancer later in life

More information: Genome-wide association study of glioma subtypes identifies specific differences in genetic susceptibility to glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma tumors, Nature Genetics, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/ng.3823

Related Stories

History of chicken pox may reduce risk of brain cancer later in life

March 30, 2016
The chicken pox is one of those pesky illness that affects kids and pains their parents, but it may offer some positive health benefits later in life, experts believe – a reduced risk for developing glioma.

Genetic mutations help brain tumors evade targeting by immunotherapy treatments

March 20, 2017
Tumors of the brain and spinal cord, or gliomas, are among the most commonly occurring brain tumors. Although a majority of gliomas are classified as curable, these low-grade tumors have the potential to develop more aggressive ...

Allergies, asthma tied to lower risk of brain cancer

February 5, 2016
(HealthDay)—People with respiratory allergies, asthma and the skin condition eczema may be less likely to develop glioma brain cancer, a new study suggests.

Study of glioma susceptibility in dogs may yield insights for humans

May 12, 2016
A new study of the genetic factors underlying glioma formation in dogs may hold clues to how these common and often untreatable tumors form in humans. The genome study, which was conducted across 25 dog breeds, identified ...

Neuroscientists pinpoint key gene controlling tumor growth in brain cancers

March 9, 2017
Cedars-Sinai investigators have identified a stem cell-regulating gene that affects tumor growth in patients with brain cancer and can strongly influence survival rates of patients. The findings, published in the online edition ...

Major study finds five new genetic variants linked to brain cancer

October 1, 2015
The biggest ever study of DNA from people with glioma - the most common form of brain cancer - has discovered five new genetic variants associated with the disease.

Recommended for you

RNA thought to spread cancer shows ability to suppress breast cancer metastasis

October 22, 2018
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that a form of RNA called metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) appears to suppress breast cancer metastasis in mice, ...

New tool gives deeper understanding of glioblastoma

October 22, 2018
Researchers in the lab of Charles Danko at the Baker Institute for Animal Health have developed a new tool to study genetic "switches" active in glioblastoma tumors that drive growth of the cancer. In a new paper in Nature ...

Researchers find common genetic link in lung ailments

October 22, 2018
An international research team led by members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty has identified a genetic connection between rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary ...

Scientists identify critical cancer immunity genes using new genetic barcoding technology

October 20, 2018
Scientists at Mount Sinai have developed a novel technology for simultaneously analyzing the functions of hundreds of genes with resolution reaching the single cell level. The technology relies on a barcoding approach using ...

A single missing gene leads to miscarriage

October 19, 2018
A single gene from the mother plays such a crucial role in the development of the placenta that its dysfunction leads to miscarriages. Researchers from the Medical Faculty of Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have observed this ...

Making gene therapy delivery safer and more efficient

October 18, 2018
Viral vectors used to deliver gene therapies undergo spontaneous changes during manufacturing which affects their structure and function, found researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.