London: Scientists have discovered five new genetic variants associated with glioma - the most common form of brain cancer.
One variant increases the risk of developing glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive kind of glioma with an average survival of only 10-15 months after diagnosis, by almost a quarter.
The findings give important new evidence for an inherited susceptibility to glioma and offered potential clues for how to treat or prevent the disease.
"Our study is the largest ever conducted of the genetics of glioma -- the most common form of brain cancer -- and it provides firm evidence that susceptibility to the disease is in part inherited," said Richard Houlston, professor of molecular and population genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research here.
The team analysed DNA from more than 5,637 people who had developed glioma, and comparing it with 9,158 people without the disease.
The study brings the total number of genetic variants linked to glioma now to 12.
One variant was associated with a 23 percent increased risk of glioblastoma.
The other four genetic variants were found to increase the risk of less aggressive, non-glioblastoma forms of glioma by around five percent each.
"One of the risk factors we identified is linked to quite a dramatically-increased chance of developing glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive kind of brain cancer," Houlston said.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, sheds fresh light on the biology of gliomas, providing clues to why the disease develops and how it could be treated or prevented.