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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Review Identifies Factors Associated with Childhood Brain Tumors

Older parents, birth defects, maternal nutrition, and childhood exposure to CT scans and pesticides are increasingly being associated with brain tumors in children, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Brain and central nervous system tumors are the second leading cause of cancer death in children.



[Dr. Kimberly J. Johnson]

Researchers examined studies published since 2004 that analyzed the incidence of childhood brain tumors and survival in different parts of the world. They reviewed studies that examined potential genetic, immune system, developmental and birth characteristics as well as environmental risk factors.

Although established risk factors for childhood brain tumors remain limited to ionizing radiation exposure and certain cancer syndromes, “accumulating evidence suggests relatively consistent support for positive associations” between tumors and other factors, wrote Dr. Kimberly J. Johnson, assistant professor at the Brown School and the paper’s lead author.

Future research should “identify interactions between genetic and environmental factors,” she wrote.  International coordination to collect normal and tumor specimens should be a priority, she added.

The study was published September 5 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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