Children at increased risk for brain tumors were less likely to develop tumors if they had been diagnosed with asthma, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Researchers studied medical records or used questionnaires to obtain information from 2,289 people with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disorder that puts children at high risk for brain tumors. It is the first study to evaluate the role of allergic conditions in tumor development among children with NF1.
Although they found no support for a protective effect of allergies or eczema against pediatric brain tumors (PBTs), researchers did find evidence for asthma. “Our study supports the hypothesis that asthma protects against PBT development in NF1,” wrote Dr. Kimberly Johnson, an assistant professor at the Brown School and the study’s senior author.
Replication of the results and further investigation “could ultimately impact clinical risk prediction models for children with NF1 as well as increase understanding of the biology of brain tumor development in a highly susceptible population,” she said.
The study was published online December 14 in Familial Cancer.