Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 307–316 | Cite as

Links between private habits, psychological stress and brain cancer: a case–control pilot study in France

  • Cécilia Cabaniols
  • Roch Giorgi
  • Olivier Chinot
  • Nabila Ferahta
  • Valérie Spinelli
  • Philippe Alla
  • Maryline Barrie
  • Marie-Pascale Lehucher-MichelEmail author
Clinical Study – Patient Study


Numerous studies have increasingly suggested that medical history and lifestyle factors could be involved in the increase of cancer risk in adults. The issue whether psychological factors can influence the development of cancer has been discussed for many years. In the field of brain cancer, psychological stress has not so far been investigated. We conducted a French case–control pilot study with 122 adult incident cases and 122 controls free of any cancer diagnosis, matched for age and gender, to investigate links between malignant primitive brain tumours (MPBT) and medical history, private habits and psychological stress. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires, and person-to-person interviews. To complete the psychological stress assessment, 100-mm visual analog scales were used. After adjustment for confounders, we found no significant effect of head trauma, aspartame, tobacco or alcohol consumption, place (rural or urban) of residence, sociodemographic data, and experience of psychological stress at work/home. Our results showed a significant association between MPBT risk and major life events over the past 5 years before diagnosis (OR = 1.90, 95% CI 1.13–3.20), family histories of cancer (OR = 1.90, 95% CI 1.12–3.22), fresh vegetable and fruit intake (OR = 0.29, 95% CI 0.09–0.95), and skipped meals several times per week (OR = 0.35, 95% CI 0.16–0.77). The present study suggests the role of genetic factors in glioma risk, and also suggests that an acute and sudden psychological stress might influence MPBT appearance. Additional large clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.


Brain cancer Psychological stress Private habits Major life events History of cancer 



We thank Pr B. Alliez, Pr F. Grisoli and Pr H. Dufour for their reception in their service, Paul Lewakowski for English preparation of the manuscript and Monique Douroux for technical help assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cécilia Cabaniols
    • 1
  • Roch Giorgi
    • 2
  • Olivier Chinot
    • 3
  • Nabila Ferahta
    • 1
  • Valérie Spinelli
    • 1
  • Philippe Alla
    • 4
  • Maryline Barrie
    • 3
  • Marie-Pascale Lehucher-Michel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.EA3279, Evaluation Hospitalière et Santé Perçue, Université de la Méditerranée, et Unité de Consultation de Pathologie ProfessionnelleHôpital Timone AdultesMarseille Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Faculté de Médecine, LERTIM EA 3283Université de la MéditerranéeMarseilleFrance
  3. 3.INSERM 0359 Faculté de Médecine de Marseille-Université de la Méditerranée et Unité de Neuro-OncologieAssistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille-Hôpital de la TimoneMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.Service de Neurologie Hôpital des Armées Sainte AnneToulonFrance

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