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Chapter 1 - Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Risk Factors of Brain Tumours


  • Primary CNS tumours are diverse histological entities with different causes
  • Primary CNS tumours include malignant, benign and borderline tumours
  • Meningiomas and gliomas are the two main histological types of primary CNS tumours
  • Secondary CNS tumours (metastases) are more frequent than primary CNS tumours
  • Glioblastoma is the most frequent glioma with a median age at diagnosis of 64 years
  • Paediatric primary CNS tumour is the most frequent paediatric solid tumour
  • Age, Karnofsky performance status, comorbidity, tumour growth rate, magnetic resonance imaging, histology and biology are important prognostic factors
  • Symptomatology and QoL must be taken into account in the medical care management
  • High-dose ionising radiation is the only unequivocal risk factor that was identified for glial and meningeal neoplasms
  • Increased risk of glioma and meningioma is observed in rare hereditary syndromes

Further Reading

Baldi I, Engelhardt J, Bonnet C, et al. Epidemiology of meningiomas. Neurochirurgie 2014 Sep 20. pii: S0028-3770(14)00112-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neuchi.2014.05.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Bauchet L. Epidemiology of diffuse low-grade gliomas. In: Duffau H (Ed). Diffuse Low-grade Gliomas in Adults. London: Springer-Verlag, 2013; 9–30.

Benson VS, Kirichek O, Beral V, Green J. Menopausal hormone therapy and central nervous system tumor risk: large UK prospective study and meta-analysis. Int J Cancer 2015; 136:2369–2377.

Darlix A, Zouaoui S, Rigau V, et al. Epidemiology for primary brain tumors: a nationwide population-based study. J Neurooncol 2017; 131:525–546.

Fox BD, Cheung VJ, Patel AJ, et al. Epidemiology of metastatic brain tumors. Neurosurg Clin N Am 2011; 22:1–6.

Louis DN, Perry A, Reifenberger G, et al. The 2016 World Health Organization Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System: a summary. Acta Neuropathol 2016; 131:803–820.

Ostrom QT, Bauchet L, Davis FG, et al. The epidemiology of glioma in adults: a “state of the science” review. Neuro Oncol 2014; 16:896–913.

Ostrom QT, de Blank PM, Kruchko C, et al. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Infant and Childhood Primary Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2007-2011. Neuro Oncol 2015; 16(Suppl 10):x1–x36.

Ostrom QT, Gittleman H, Liao P, et al. CBTRUS statistical report: primary brain and central nervous system tumors diagnosed in the United States in 2007-2011. Neuro Oncol 2014; 16(Suppl 4):iv1–iv63.

Stupp R, Mason WP, van den Bent MJ, et al. Radiotherapy plus concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide for glioblastoma. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:987–996.

Woehrer A, Bauchet L, Barnholtz-Sloan JS. Glioblastoma survival: has it improved? Evidence from population-based studies. Curr Opin Neurol 2014; 27:666–674.

Wöhrer A, Waldhör T, Heinzl H, et al. The Austrian Brain Tumour Registry: a cooperative way to establish a population-based brain tumour registry. J Neurooncol 2009; 95:401–411.

Gliomas and Meningiomas – Risk Factors (Continued)

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