What causes brain cancer?Genetic factors, various environmental toxins, radiation, and cigarette smoking have all been linked to cancers of the brain, but in most cases, no clear cause can be shown. Brain cancer is a malignant growth (tumor) in the brain. 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 (i.e., neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Frameni syndrome, and retinoblastoma) also have an increased risk to develop 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. Some chemicals may change the structure of a gene that protects the body from diseases and cancer. Workers in oil refining, rubber manufacturing, and chemists have a higher incidence of certain types of tumors. Which, if any, chemical toxin is related to this 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.