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Identification of Risk Factors for Pediatric Brain Tumors in a High Risk Population

Washington University
Kimberly Johnson, PhD, MPH
Grant Type: 
Epidemiology Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Brain Tumors, Glioma
Project Description: 

A major barrier to progress in pediatric brain cancer prevention and control is the lack of understanding of factors that influence its development and outcomes. This limitation is especially relevant to pediatric brain tumors, where few environmental or genetic risk factors have been identified. Studies conducted in individuals with cancer syndromes may increase our understanding of pediatric brain tumor causes due to their extreme sensitivity to tumor development.

Project Goal
In this study, our goal is to identify risk factors for pediatric brain cancer in a high risk population with the cancer syndrome Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1). NF1 represents an ideal study population with 15-20% of affected individuals developing low-grade pediatric brain tumors, the second most common cancer type in children without NF1. Similar to the general population of children with pediatric brain tumors, the underlying reasons for brain tumor development in children with NF1 are unknown.

In this study, we will leverage our international online NF1 patient registry to conduct research aimed at identifying factors that predict pediatric brain tumor development. The proposed research is significant because we expect that by employing a novel highly motivated study population that is exceptionally sensitive to pediatric brain tumor development that we will increase our ability to identify risk factors for pediatric brain tumors. This study may provide important new insights into risk factors for pediatric brain tumors.