Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 641–648 | Cite as

Family cancer history and risk of brain tumors in children: results of the SEARCH international brain tumor study

  • Susan Searles Nielsen
  • Beth A. Mueller
  • Susan Preston-Martin
  • Elizabeth A. Holly
  • Julian Little
  • Paige M. Bracci
  • Margaret McCredie
  • Rafael Peris-Bonet
  • Sylvaine Cordier
  • Graziella Filippini
  • Flora Lubin
Original paper



To examine whether childhood brain tumors (CBTs) are associated with a family history of brain tumors or other cancers in an international case–control study.


Cancers in children’s first- and second-degree relatives were ascertained by interview with parents of 620 children with astroglial tumors, 255 with primitive neuroectodermal tumors, 324 with other CBTs, and 2,218 controls from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Spain, and the US. These were used with histories of neurofibromatosis or tuberous sclerosis to exclude in subanalyses children with Li-Fraumeni or other hereditary syndromes predisposing to brain tumors.


A first- or second-degree relative of 4% of children with astroglial tumors, 6% with PNET, 5% with other CBTs, and 5% of controls had had a brain tumor. Any potential differences were statistically non-significant, including when focusing on relatives diagnosed in childhood. In the US, where anatomical sites of relatives’ other cancers were known, CBT occurrence was not associated with any other specific site. Results were not markedly altered by exclusion of children with hereditary syndromes.


Consistent with most prior studies using these methods, we observed no strong relationship between CBT occurrence and cancers in family members.


Children Heredity Nervous system neoplasms 



Financial support This work was supported by Grant CA 47082 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In Seattle, this work was also supported by the Cancer Surveillance System of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, funded by contract N01-CN-05230 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program of the National Cancer Institute with additional support from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Searles Nielsen’s participation in this project was supported in part by grant number ES07262 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIH. In Los Angeles, cancer incidence data were collected under contracts 050 (C-G)-8709 from the State of California Department of Health Services; support to conduct the study was provided by Grant CA17054 from NIH and from grant 5 P30 ES07048-06 from the NIEHS, NIH. In San Francisco, support to conduct the study was provided by NIH Grant CA47082. In Milan, support was provided by the National Research Council Oncology project (8687CNR) and Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro (8889AIRC). The National Childhood Cancer Registry of Spain is in the ISCIII-RTIC RD06/0020, and has partial support from the Villavecchia Foundation and the Scientific Foundation of the AECC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Searles Nielsen
    • 1
  • Beth A. Mueller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susan Preston-Martin
    • 3
  • Elizabeth A. Holly
    • 4
  • Julian Little
    • 5
  • Paige M. Bracci
    • 4
  • Margaret McCredie
    • 6
  • Rafael Peris-Bonet
    • 7
  • Sylvaine Cordier
    • 8
  • Graziella Filippini
    • 9
  • Flora Lubin
    • 10
  1. 1.Public Health Sciences DivisionFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer CenterKeck School of Medicine, University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of MedicineUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  5. 5.Canada Research Chair in Human Genome Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Community MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Department of Preventive and Social MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  7. 7.National Childhood Cancer Registry (RNTI-SEOP) of Spain, Faculty of Medicine, Department of DocumentationUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  8. 8.Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 625Université Rennes IRennesFrance
  9. 9.Neuroepidemiology Research UnitFondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo BestaMilanItaly
  10. 10.Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy, Chaim Sheba Medical CenterSackler School of MedicineTel HashomerIsrael

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