Published: Sept. 2, 2011
Updated: Sept. 2, 2011
While much is unknown about the causes of brain tumors, certain inherited genetic syndromes may increase risk. Keep in mind that not everyone with these risk factors will get a brain tumor, and many people with brain tumors have none of these risk factors.
Radiation therapy. Having had radiation to the head or scalp to treat earlier cancers can increase risk of a brain tumor. This most commonly occurs in people who had treatment of childhood cancer, such as leukemia. Radiation exposure accounts for less than 1 percent of brain tumors.
Genetic syndromes. Changes in particular genes cause people with certain inherited syndromes to develop cancers in the brain and central nervous system as well as other areas of the body. These syndromes include:
Only about 5 percent of brain tumors are associated with inherited genetic syndromes.
Immune system disorders. Inherited immune-system dysfunction or acquired syndromes such as HIV or AIDS can increase the risk of developing lymphomas of the brain or spinal cord.
Learn more about brain tumors: