CT scans. Photo: Steve Ueckert, Staff / Houston Chronicle
Photo: Steve Ueckert, Staff
CT scans.

A team headed by Baylor College of Medicine researchers has found a gene associated with familial glioma, a brain tumor, suggesting genetic factors may make some people more likely to get the disease.

 

Researchers have heretofore discounted any link between family history and glioma, believing that coincidence may account for cases arising in multiple family members, said Dr. Melissa Bondy, associate director of cancer prevention and population sciences at the Dan L. Duncan Canceer Center at Baylor and lead author of the report. It appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"By understanding more about the genetic link, we hope that one day we can improve treatments and prevention strategies for those with a family history of glioma," Bondy said.

The Gliogene Consortium, a worldwide group of familial brain tumor researchers, looked at 435 families with a history of glioma. The team sequenced  the DNA of the protein-coding regions of 90 people.

Dr. Matthew Bainbridge of Baylor identified a mutation of a gene called POT1 in two of the families. One family had six members with a mutation; three developed glioma. In another, six members had a different POT1 mutation; two developed glioma.

POT1 has also been associated with familial melanoma .

Bondy's team believes this may not be the only gene involved in familial glioma.

The consortium is  recruiting eligible patients and families. For information, contact Goergina Armstron at georgina@bcm.edu or 713-798-2951.