Skip to main content

Early life exposures and the risk of adult glioma

Abstract

Exposure to common infections in early life may stimulate immune development and reduce the risk for developing cancer. Birth order and family size are proxies for the timing of exposure to childhood infections with several studies showing a reduced risk of glioma associated with a higher order of birth (and presumed younger age at infection). The aim of this study was to examine whether birth order, family size, and other early life exposures are associated with the risk of glioma in adults using data collected in a large clinic-based US case-control study including 889 glioma cases and 903 community controls. A structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on family structure, childhood exposures and other potential risk factors. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the association between early life factors and glioma risk. Persons having any siblings were at significantly lower risk for glioma when compared to those reporting no siblings (OR = 0.64; 95 % CI 0.44–0.93; p = 0.020). Compared to first-borns, individuals with older siblings had a significantly lower risk (OR = 0.75; 95 % CI 0.61–0.91; p = 0.004). Birth weight, having been breast fed in infancy, and season of birth were not associated with glioma risk. The current findings lend further support to a growing body of evidence that early exposure to childhood infections reduces the risk of glioma onset in children and adults.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Preston DL, Ron E, Yonehara S, Kobuke T, Fujii H, Kishikawa M, Tokunaga M, Tokuoka S, Mabuchi K. Tumors of the nervous system and pituitary gland associated with atomic bomb radiation exposure. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94:1555–63.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Ron E, Modan B, Boice JD Jr, Alfandary E, Stovall M, Chetrit A, Katz L. Tumors of the brain and nervous system after radiotherapy in childhood. N Engl J Med. 1988;319:1033–9.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Gu J, Liu Y, Kyritsis AP, Bondy ML. Molecular epidemiology of primary brain tumors. Neurotherapeutics. 2009;6:427–35.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kabat GC, Park Y, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Rohan TE. Reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use and risk of adult glioma in women in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Int J Cancer. 2011;128:944–50.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Michaud DS, Gallo V, Schlehofer B, Tjonneland A, Olsen A, Overvad K, Dahm CC, Kaaks R, Lukanova A, Boeing H, Schutze M, Trichopoulou A, et al. Reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use in relation to risk of glioma and meningioma in a large European cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;19:2562–9.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Mandelzweig L, Novikov I, Sadetzki S. Smoking and risk of glioma: a meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control. 2009;20:1927–38.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Galeone C, Malerba S, Rota M, Bagnardi V, Negri E, Scotti L, Bellocco R, Corrao G, Boffetta P, La Vecchia C, Pelucchi C. A meta-analysis of alcohol consumption and the risk of brain tumours. Ann Oncol. 2013;24:514–23.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Dubrow R, Darefsky AS, Park Y, Mayne ST, Moore SC, Kilfoy B, Cross AJ, Sinha R, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Ward MH. Dietary components related to N-nitroso compound formation: a prospective study of adult glioma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;19:1709–22.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Michaud DS, Holick CN, Batchelor TT, Giovannucci E, Hunter DJ. Prospective study of meat intake and dietary nitrates, nitrites, and nitrosamines and risk of adult glioma. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:570–7.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Holick CN, Giovannucci EL, Rosner B, Stampfer MJ, Michaud DS. Prospective study of intake of fruit, vegetables, and carotenoids and the risk of adult glioma. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85:877–86.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Karipidis KK, Benke G, Sim MR, Kauppinen T, Giles G. Occupational exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and risk of glioma. Occup Med (Lond). 2007;57:518–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Schlehofer B, Hettinger I, Ryan P, Blettner M, Preston-Martin S, Little J, Arslan A, Ahlbom A, Giles GG, Howe GR, Menegoz F, Rodvall Y, et al. Occupational risk factors for low grade and high grade glioma: results from an international case control study of adult brain tumours. Int J Cancer. 2005;113:116–25.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Linos E, Raine T, Alonso A, Michaud D. Atopy and risk of brain tumors: a meta-analysis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007;99:1544–50.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Schwartzbaum J, Ding B, Johannesen TB, Osnes LT, Karavodin L, Ahlbom A, Feychting M, Grimsrud TK. Association between prediagnostic IgE levels and risk of glioma. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012;104:1251–9.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Calboli FC, Cox DG, Buring JE, Gaziano JM, Ma J, Stampfer M, Willett WC, Tworoger SS, Hunter DJ, Camargo CA, Jr., Michaud DS. Prediagnostic plasma IgE levels and risk of adult glioma in four prospective cohort studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011;103(21):1588–95.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Rajaraman P, Brenner AV, Butler MA, Wang SS, Pfeiffer RM, Ruder AM, Linet MS, Yeager M, Wang Z, Orr N, Fine HA, Kwon D, et al. Common variation in genes related to innate immunity and risk of adult glioma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18:1651–8.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Wiemels JL, Wiencke JK, Kelsey KT, Moghadassi M, Rice T, Urayama KY, Miike R, Wrensch M. Allergy-related polymorphisms influence glioma status and serum IgE levels. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007;16:1229–35.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Schwartzbaum JA, Ahlbom A, Lonn S, Malmer B, Wigertz A, Auvinen A, Brookes AJ, Collatz Christensen H, Henriksson R, Johansen C, Salminen T, Schoemaker MJ, et al. An international case-control study of interleukin-4Ralpha, interleukin-13, and cyclooxygenase-2 polymorphisms and glioblastoma risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007;16:2448–54.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Brenner AV, Butler MA, Wang SS, Ruder AM, Rothman N, Schulte PA, Chanock SJ, Fine HA, Linet MS, Inskip PD. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in selected cytokine genes and risk of adult glioma. Carcinogenesis. 2007;28:2543–7.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Amirian E, Scheurer ME, Bondy ML. The association between birth order, sibship size and glioma development in adulthood. Int J Cancer. 2010;126:2752–6.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Altieri A, Castro F, Bermejo JL, Hemminki K. Association between number of siblings and nervous system tumors suggests an infectious etiology. Neurology. 2006;67:1979–83.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Cicuttini FM, Hurley SF, Forbes A, Donnan GA, Salzberg M, Giles GG, McNeil JJ. Association of adult glioma with medical conditions, family and reproductive history. Int J Cancer. 1997;71:203–7.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Efird JT. Season of birth and risk for adult onset glioma. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010;7:1913–36.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Garn H, Renz H. Epidemiological and immunological evidence for the hygiene hypothesis. Immunobiology. 2007;212:441–52.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Wrensch M, Weinberg A, Wiencke J, Miike R, Sison J, Wiemels J, Barger G, DeLorenze G, Aldape K, Kelsey K. History of chickenpox and shingles and prevalence of antibodies to varicella-zoster virus and three other herpesviruses among adults with glioma and controls. Am J Epidemiol. 2005;161:929–38.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Sjostrom S, Hjalmars U, Juto P, Wadell G, Hallmans G, Tjonneland A, Halkjaer J, Manjer J, Almquist M, Melin BS. Human immunoglobulin G levels of viruses and associated glioma risk. Cancer Causes Control. 2011;22:1259–66.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Little RB, Madden MH, Thompson RC, Olson JJ, Larocca RV, Pan E, Browning JE, Egan KM. Nabors LB. Cancer Causes Control: Anthropometric factors in relation to risk of glioma; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Karmaus W, Johnson CC. Invited commentary: sibship effects and a call for a comparative disease approach. Am J Epidemiol. 2005;162:133–8. discussion 9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Michie CA, Gilmour J. Breast feeding and the risks of viral transmission. Arch Dis Child. 2001;84:381–2.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, Scheithauer BW, Kleihues P. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol. 2007;114:97–109.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge our study participants and their families. We further wish to thank the clinicians and research staffs at participating medical centers for their contributions. In addition, we acknowledge Dr. Sajeel A. Chowdhary at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando, FL, as well as Harold Colbassani, MD; Dean Gobo, MD; and Christopher Mickler, DO at Morton Plant Mease Healthcare and Baycare Health System in Clearwater, Fl for their efforts recruiting subjects to the study. The project was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01CA116174) and institutional funding provided by the Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, FL) and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center (Nashville, TN). Development of this manuscript was supported in part through a National Cancer Institute postdoctoral fellowship training grant (R25CA147832).

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kathleen M. Egan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Anic, G.M., Madden, M.H., Sincich, K. et al. Early life exposures and the risk of adult glioma. Eur J Epidemiol 28, 753–758 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-013-9811-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-013-9811-1

Keywords

  • Glioma
  • Birth order
  • Siblings
  • Birth weight
  • Breast feeding