Clinical Study

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 297-304

Reproductive factors and risk of primary brain tumors in women

  • Gabriella M. AnicAffiliated withDepartment of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • , Melissa H. MaddenAffiliated withDepartment of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • , L. Burton NaborsAffiliated withNeuro-oncology Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • , Jeffrey J. OlsonAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, Emory School of Medicine
  • , Renato V. LaRoccaAffiliated withNorton Cancer Institute
  • , Zachary J. ThompsonAffiliated withBiostatistics and Bioinformatics Department, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • , Shitaldas J. PamnaniAffiliated withDepartment of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • , Peter A. ForsythAffiliated withDepartment of Neurooncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • , Reid C. ThompsonAffiliated withDepartment of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    • , Kathleen M. EganAffiliated withDepartment of Cancer Epidemiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Email author 

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Abstract

Gender-specific incidence patterns and the presence of hormonal receptors on tumor cells suggest that sex hormones may play a role in the onset of primary brain tumors. However, epidemiological studies on the relation of hormonal risk factors to the risk of brain tumors have been inconsistent. We examined the role of reproductive factors in the onset of glioma and meningioma in a case–control study conducted in the Southeastern US that included 507 glioma cases, 247 meningioma cases, and 695 community-based and friend controls. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) adjusting for age, race, US state of residence, and education. An older age at menarche was associated with an increased risk of glioma (≥15 vs. ≤12 years: OR 1.65; 95 % CI 1.11–2.45), with a stronger association observed in pre-menopausal (OR 2.22; 95 % CI 1.12–4.39) than post-menopausal (OR 1.55; 95 % CI 0.93–2.58) women. When compared to controls, meningioma cases were more likely to have undergone natural menopause (OR 1.52; 95 % CI 1.04–2.21) whereas glioma cases were less likely to be long term users of oral contraceptives (OR 0.47; 95 % CI 0.33–0.68). Increasing parity was not related to the risk of either tumor. Current findings are consistent with a limited role for hormones in the onset of brain tumors in women. Results contribute to a growing body of evidence that a later age at menarche increases the risk of glioma in women.

Keywords

Glioma Meningioma Reproductive factors Exogenous hormones Menarche