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February 24, 2016

Malignant brain tumors most common cause of cancer deaths in adolescents and young adults

new report published in the journal Neuro-Oncology and funded by the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)finds that malignant brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 and the most common cancer occurring among 15-19 year olds.

The 50-page report, which utilized data from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) from 2008-2012, is the first in-depth statistical analysis of brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors in adolescents and young adults (AYA). Statistics are provided on tumor type, tumor location and age group (15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34 and 35-39) for both malignant and non-malignant brain and CNS tumors.

Although brain and CNS tumors are the most common type of cancer among people aged 15-19, the report shows how other cancers become more common with age. By ages 34-39 years, brain and CNS tumors are the third most common cancer after breast and thyroid cancer.

"What's interesting is the wide variability in the types of brain tumors diagnosed within this age group which paints a much different picture than what we see in adults or in pediatric patients," explained the study's senior author Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD, associate professor, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Scientific Principal Investigator for CBTRUS.

"For example, the most common tumor types observed in adults are meningiomas and glioblastomas, but there is much more diversity in the common tumor types observed in the adolescent and young adult population. You also clearly see a transition from predominantly non-malignant and low-grade tumors to predominantly high-grade tumors with increasing age," Barnholtz-Sloan said. [more]