Gene Expression In Meningiomas May Vary By Hormone Receptor Status

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An association between hormones and meningioma has long been postulated, but the specific nature of this relationship has remained unclear. Now researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found preliminary evidence that the expression of a number of genes appears to be associated with the presence of hormone receptors, specifically receptors for progesterone. This research is published in the January 1, 2008 issue of Cancer Research.

According to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, more than 150,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with a meningioma, which is a tumor of the lining of the brain.

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"A relationship between hormones and meningioma risk is suggested by a number of findings including the increased prevalence of the disease in women versus men, the presence of estrogen and particularly progesterone receptors in some meningiomas, and a potential association with hormone replacement therapy as well as reports that meningiomas may change in size with menstrual cycle phase, pregnancy, and menopausal status", says Dr. Elizabeth B. Claus of the Department of Neurosurgery at BWH, lead author of the study and an investigator with the Brain Science Foundation.

These data are the first to examine gene expression in meningioma by hormone receptor status and suggest that progesterone status may be a clinical marker for genetic subgroups of meningioma.

Claus' research group is currently conducting a large scale national study of meningioma funded by the National Institutes of Health to further examine these findings in a larger, population-based group of subjects.

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