Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 297–304 | Cite as

Reproductive factors and risk of primary brain tumors in women

  • Gabriella M. Anic
  • Melissa H. Madden
  • L. Burton Nabors
  • Jeffrey J. Olson
  • Renato V. LaRocca
  • Zachary J. Thompson
  • Shitaldas J. Pamnani
  • Peter A. Forsyth
  • Reid C. Thompson
  • Kathleen M. EganEmail author
Clinical Study


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.


Glioma Meningioma Reproductive factors Exogenous hormones Menarche 



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.

Supplementary material

11060_2014_1427_MOESM1_ESM.doc (77 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 77 kb)
11060_2014_1427_MOESM2_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella M. Anic
    • 1
  • Melissa H. Madden
    • 1
  • L. Burton Nabors
    • 2
  • Jeffrey J. Olson
    • 3
  • Renato V. LaRocca
    • 4
  • Zachary J. Thompson
    • 5
  • Shitaldas J. Pamnani
    • 1
  • Peter A. Forsyth
    • 6
  • Reid C. Thompson
    • 7
  • Kathleen M. Egan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Cancer EpidemiologyH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research InstituteTampaUSA
  2. 2.Neuro-oncology ProgramUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryEmory School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Norton Cancer InstituteLouisvilleUSA
  5. 5.Biostatistics and Bioinformatics DepartmentH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research InstituteTampaUSA
  6. 6.Department of NeurooncologyH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research InstituteTampaUSA
  7. 7.Department of Neurological SurgeryVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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