Gene expression in meningiomas may vary by hormone receptor status

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.

"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.

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 747-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery network. BWH is committed to excellence in patient care with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.  The BWH medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives and its dedication to educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Biomedical Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, involving more than 860 physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by more than $416 M in funding. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative.


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