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Cancer Genetics

Genetics of Brain Tumors

11/15/2000

Question:

What are some of the genetics and specific genes involved in a brain tumor, and how can they be treated?

Answer:

Most brain tumors are not hereditary. There are a few instances where brain and spinal cord cancers run in families. In general, people with familial cancer syndromes have multiple tumors that occur when they are young.

The American Cancer Society web site dicusses some of the causes of brain tumors and the treatments (see below).

Some of these families have well-known genetic disorders. Neurofibromatosis type 2 is an inherited condition associated with schwannomas of both acoustic (hearing) nerves and in some patients, multiple meningiomas, or spinal cord ependymomas. Patients with tuberous sclerosis (another inherited condition) may have noninfiltrating subependymal giant cell astrocytomas in addition to benign tumors of the skin, heart, or kidneys. Von Hippel-Lindau disease is associated with an inherited tendency to develop hemangioblastomas (blood vessel tumors) of the cerebellum or retina as well as renal cell (kidney) carcinomas. Malignant brain tumors are rare in these disorders.

Related Resources:

Your American Cancer Society

For more information:

Go to the Cancer Genetics health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Judith A Westman, MD Judith A Westman, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Biochemistry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University