A multi-center U.S. case-control study of benign and malignant brain tumors is addressing a variety of possible risk factors for these poorly understood tumors. Analyses did not indicate associations with use of cellular telephones, which emit radiofrequency radiation, nor with exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) from electrical appliances used in the home. Employment in several occupations was associated with these tumors. These observations are being followed in detailed studies of the possible role of specific exposures, including solvents, lead, pesticides and EMF. One of these suggested a gene-environment interaction involving occupational exposure to lead and risk of meningioma that depended on a polymorphism in the gene (ALAD), which influences the toxicokinetics of lead. Investigators did not observe associations between glioma or meningioma and occupational exposure to insecticides or herbicides. Additional occupational exposures can be evaluated in this study. No association was seen for use of hair dyes, which contain aromatic amines. A significant inverse association between the risk of glioma and history of allergies or autoimmune diseases was observed, as well as a positive association of glioma with age at menarche and an inverse association with age at first live birth. Studies of self-reported family history and brain tumor risk indicated increased risk of glioma in persons with a first degree relative with stomach cancer, prostate cancer or Hodgkin lymphoma. DNA, serum and plasma samples are available for future studies.
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