'Previous research found that people with allergies were less likely to be diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. However, it was not clear whether allergies reduce brain tumor risk or whether the growing tumor "cures" allergies.
To further explore the relationship between these two conditions, scientists examined almost 1,000 genes associated with allergies, immunity and inflammation to learn how they were affected once these tumors were present in the brain.
The researchers expected to see that allergy gene function was low in brain tumor tissue, which would be consistent with the known immune system suppression that is associated with these tumors.
What they found was a surprise: Allergy genes were not the only immune function genes suppressed during tumor growth. Instead, in almost 70 percent of the 919 genes examined, the genes' activity was decreased as the brain tumors progressed.
"This result provides evidence that there is a relationship between glioblastoma and allergies -- specifically, high tumor aggressiveness is associated with low allergy-related gene function," said Judith Schwartzbaum, lead author of the study and an associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University. "But it still does not tell us whether allergies inhibit tumor growth or tumors block allergies."
For the full report from Science Daily
Judith A. Schwartzbaum, Kun Huang, Sean Lawler, Bo Ding, Jianhua Yu, and E. Antonio Chiocca. Allergy and inflammatory transcriptome is predominantly negatively correlated with CD133 expression in glioblastoma. Neuro Oncology, April 2010; 12: 320 - 327
First published in April 2004
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