Occupational and Environmental Risk Factors of Adult Primary Brain Cancers: A Systematic Review

J Gomes, A Al Zayadi, A Guzman


The incidence of brain neoplasm has been progressively increasing in recent years in the industrialized countries. One of the reasons for this increased incidence could be better access to health care and improved diagnosis in the industrialized countries. It also appears that Caucasians have a higher incidence than blacks or Hispanics or Asians. A number of risk factors have been identified and described including the genetic, ethnic and age-based factors. Certain occupational and environmental factors are also believed to influence the risk of primary adult brain tumors. Potential occupational and environmental factors include exposure to diagnostic and therapeutic radiations, electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones and other wireless devices, infectious agents, air pollution and residence near landfills and highvoltage power lines and jobs as firefighters, farmers, physician, chemists and jobs in industries such as petrochemical, power generation, synthetic rubber manufacturing, agricultural chemicals manufacturing. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine occupational and environmental risk factors of brain neoplasm. A range of occupational and environmental exposures are evaluated for significance of their relationship with adult primary brain tumors. On the basis of this review we suggest a concurrent evaluation of multiple risk factors both within and beyond occupational and environmental domains. The concurrent approach needs to consider better exposure assessment techniques, lifetime occupational exposures, genotypic and phenotypic characteristics and lifestyle and dietary habits. This approach needs to be interdisciplinary with contributions from neurologists, oncologists, epidemiologists and molecular biologists. Conclusive evidence that has eluded multitude of studies with single focus and single exposure needs to multifaceted and multidisciplinary.


Brain neoplasm; occupational risk factors; environmental risk factors; glioma; meningioma; astrocytoma

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 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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