Your risk of developing a brain tumor is higher if you have a close relative with a history of brain cancer. Most brain tumors aren’t linked to a family history and have no clear cause.
Brain and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors are the
Brain tumors are caused by genetic changes inside your cells that cause them to replicate uncontrollably. Some genetic changes can be passed through your family and some are acquired throughout your life.
Read on to learn more about the connection between genetics and brain tumors.
Brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. Here’s a look at some of the
|Type||Subtype||Percentage of CNS tumors in the United States||Cancerous|
|Pituitary tumors||Pituitary adenoma||16.5%||No|
|Nerve sheath tumors||Acoustic neuroma||8.2%||Usually not|
|Lymphomas and other blood cancers||Primary CNS lymphoma||1.9%||Yes|
As with other types of tumors, brain tumors develop when genetic changes cause cells to replicate uncontrollably. Brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. Some noncancerous brain tumors can also cause difficulties if they compress healthy brain tissue.
Researchers have studied environmental and genetic factors related to brain tumors extensively, but they
Inherited and acquired genetic changes
Genetic changes can be inherited or acquired. Inherited genes are passed down to you by your parents. Cancers associated with inherited genes tend to cluster in families. Noninherited genetic changes develop throughout your life.
Most brain tumors don’t run in families. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, gliomas are the most common type of brain tumor. Only about
In a 2019
Genetic risk factors for brain tumors
Glioma is responsible for the
Researchers have identified at least
|MSH6||Medulloblastoma, glioma, glioblastoma|
|MSH2||Medulloblastoma, glioma, glioblastoma|
|C2orf80||Lower grade glioma|
|LRIG1||Lower grade glioma|
Radiation exposure is the most well-documented risk factor for brain tumors. Children seem to be
- prior therapeutic radiation
- bomb or nuclear reaction explosions
- occupational or environmental exposure
Other potential risk factors for brain tumors that have less research to support them include:
- Viral infections: Several types of viral infections such as
human papillomavirus(HPV) and cytomegalovirus infections have been suggested to be linked to brain tumors. Research linking viral infections to brain tumors has been largely mixed.
- Birth weight: There’s a reasonable amount of evidence, supported by
three large reviews, that brain and CNS tumors are associated with a higher birth weight.
- Developmental issues in the fetus: Birth irregularities are a risk factor for childhood cancer in general. About
7%of childhood brain and CNS tumors are associated with developmental issues in the fetus.
- Taller height: Taller height has been linked to an increased risk of brain tumors, with an increased risk of about
20%for every 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) of height.
- Socioeconomic positions: Increasing evidence suggests that a higher socioeconomic position is linked to a
higher riskof brain tumors, although the exact reason why isn’t clear.
- Increasing age: Adults become more likely to develop brain tumors with
- Biological sex: Cancerous tumors occur much more often in
malesand noncancerous occur more frequently in females.
- Race: Countries with
higher percentagesof people with European ancestry have the highest rates of brain tumors.
- Some medications: Some
medicationssuch as statins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) have been linked with a decreased risk of brain tumors.
- Respiratory allergies: The presence of respiratory allergies in adults has been linked with a
lower riskof developing brain cancer.
Symptoms of brain cancer can vary depending on where the tumor develops and how big it is. Tumors often don’t cause symptoms in the early stages, and symptoms may get worse slowly over time.
Common symptoms include:
- nausea and vomiting
- vision or speech problems
- paralysis on one side
- cognitive changes such as memory problems
- mood changes or changes in personality
- persistent drowsiness
It’s important to seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms with no known cause. It’s especially important to see a doctor if you have a headache that’s getting progressively worse or feels different than headaches you’ve had in the past.
The World Health Organization recognizes more than
Brain tumors develop when genetic changes in your cells cause them to replicate uncontrollably. A combination of inherited gene changes and gene changes acquired throughout your life play a role in their development.
Radiation exposure is the most well-established risk factor.