What Causes Brain Tumors?
The majority of brain tumors have abnormalities of genes involved in cell cycle control, causing uncontrolled cell growth. These abnormalities are caused by alterations directly in the genes or by chromosome rearrangements which change the function of a gene.
Patients with certain genetic conditions (for example, neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and retinoblastoma) also have an increased risk of developing tumors of the central nervous system. There have also been some reports of people in the same family developing brain tumors who do not have any of these genetic syndromes.
Workers in oil refining, rubber manufacturing, and chemists may have a higher incidence of certain types of tumors, although not all studies have found such links. Which, if any, chemical toxin is related to an increase in tumors is unknown at this time.
Patients who have received radiation therapy to the head as part of prior treatment for other malignancies are also at an increased risk for new brain tumors.