Etiological and Epidemiological Aspects

  • Daniel I. Jacobs
  • E. Susan Amirian
  • Elizabeth B. Claus
  • Robert B. Jenkins
  • Melissa L. Bondy
  • Margaret R. WrenschEmail author


Brain and other central nervous system tumors are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, causing nearly 15,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Epidemiologic studies have helped elucidate aspects of brain tumor etiology by tracking patterns of tumor incidence and mortality and by identifying potential risk factors for tumor development. With respect to glioma, the most common primary malignant brain tumor, incidence rates are elevated among men and individuals of Caucasian ethnicity. High-dose ionizing radiation has been established as a major risk factor for glioma development, and evidence has accumulated that a history of allergies and atopy is inversely associated with glioma risk. Recognized genetic risk factors for glioma include both rare germline mutations underlying several familial cancer syndromes and 25 single-nucleotide polymorphisms as of the most recent and largest genome-wide association study to date. Here, the current state of knowledge on brain tumor epidemiology and etiology is discussed, with an emphasis on glioma and meningioma in adults. Key challenges and open questions in the field are highlighted.


Glioma Meningioma Epidemiology Etiology Genetic susceptibility Risk factors 



The work by DIJ was supported by the CPRIT Post-Graduate Training Program in Integrative Cancer Epidemiology (Award ID RP160097). The work was also supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health R01CA119215 (MLB), R01CA070917 (MLB), R01CA139020 (MLB), P50CA097257 (MRW), P50CA108961 (RBJ), and RC1NS068222Z (RBJ), as well as the Loglio Collective and the Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research (MRW) and the Bernie and Edith Waterman Foundation and the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Family Foundation (RBJ).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel I. Jacobs
    • 1
  • E. Susan Amirian
    • 1
  • Elizabeth B. Claus
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert B. Jenkins
    • 4
  • Melissa L. Bondy
    • 1
  • Margaret R. Wrensch
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of MedicineDan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsYale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  5. 5.Department of Neurological SurgeryUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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