American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Prevention, Control, and Population Research
Seminar Series

Margaret Wrensch, Ph.D.
Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery and
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research
Co-Director, Neuroepidemiology Division
University of California, San Francisco


Glioma is a debilitating, often rapidly fatal cancer. Until very recently the only established risk factors for adult glioma were age, male gender, white ethnicity, high dose radiation and rare hereditary syndromes. History of allergy or asthma has also been consistently associated with decreased risk of glioma, but the biologic basis of that association remains unknown. Previous candidate gene studies were rarely significant or consistent between studies. Two recent GWAS (one conducted by UCSF and Mayo clinic investigators and another by UK and MD Anderson investigators) discovered and confirmed three regions associated with glioblastoma and high-grade glioma risk, and two additional regions that may be associated with risk of lower grade glioma. Two of the glioma risk loci, TERT and RTEL1, are related to telomere maintenance. Polymorphisms (SNPs) in a third risk region in chromosome 9p21 (commonly deleted in glioblastoma) suggest a role for variation in the cell cycle gene CDKN2B in gliomagenesis. These represent the first consistent and highly significant common genetic risk factors for glioma which provide a completely new perspective on glioma epidemiology. Furthermore, additional analyses of the UCSF, Mayo, MD Anderson, and UK GWAS data for candidate pathways, genes and SNPs in immune and inflammation genes have identified and confirmed additional common genetic risk factors for glioblastoma. The presentation will (1) provide an overview of glioma epidemiology, (2) highlight GWAS results, and (3) preview new research goals.

Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 P.M.
Location: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Main Campus
1275 York Avenue
New York, New York

Refreshments will be available starting at 3:45 P.M.

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