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Genetic Errors Associated with Brain Cancer Doubles

The London Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) partnered with European and US Scientists to study 30,000 participants, 12,496 with glioma and 18,190 without glioma.  The study was geared at finding changes in DNA associated with the most prevalent form of brain cancer, gliomas.  The study combined data from six previous studies to form a ‘meta-analysis’ which identified 13 new genetic errors, adding to the 13 previously identified genetic errors associated with Brain Cancer.


  • 40% of all brain tumors are gliomas

  • 80% of malignant brain tumors in American adults are gliomas

  • 4% survival rate according the National Brain Tumor Society


  • Revealed 13 new genetic errors associated with the risk of developing glioma

  • Errors increased risk from 15% to 33%

  • Genetic Errors affected the following:

    • Nerve cell division

    • DNA repair

    • Cell Cycle Control

    • Protein Production

    • Inflammation

  • Genes with genetic association to glioma and other cancers:

    • p53, EGFR, and the genes TERT and RTEL1 which function to protect the ends of chromosomes.

    • gene HEATR3 increases the risk of glioblastoma – a particularly aggressive type of glioma with an average survival of only 10–15 months after diagnosis – by 18%


  • There is no current way to reliably detect the disease early.

  • This study could:

    • Help predict those most at risk

    • Help detect disease earlier

    • Help determine effective treatments to the disease

The study was published in Nature Genetics on March 27, 2017 and was funded by the NIH and UK charities Cancer Research UK, Wellcome and the DJ Fielding Medical Research Trust.

Nature Genetics. Genome-wide association study of glioma subtypes identifies specific differences in genetic susceptibility to glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma tumors
Pharmaceutical-technology. ICR scientists uncover information about genetic causes of brain cancer