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Brain Pathol. 2009 Jan;19(1):121-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2008.00236.x.

Brain tumor susceptibility: the role of genetic factors and uses of mouse models to unravel risk.

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Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


Brain tumors are relatively rare but deadly cancers, and present challenges in the determination of risk factors in the population. These tumors are inherently difficult to cure because of their protected location in the brain, with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy options carrying potentially lasting morbidity for patients and incomplete cure of the tumor. The development of methods to prevent or detect brain tumors at an early stage is extremely important to reduce damage to the brain from the tumor and the therapy. Developing effective prevention or early detection methods requires a deep understanding of the risk factors for brain tumors. This review explores the difficulties in assessing risk factors in rare diseases such as brain tumors, and discusses how mouse models of cancer can aid in a better understanding of genetic risk factors for brain tumors.

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