Early life exposures and the risk of adult glioma

Gabriella M. Anic, Melissa H. Madden, Kelly Sincich, Reid C. Thompson, L. Burton Nabors, Jeffrey J. Olson, Renato V. Larocca, James E. Browning, Edward Pan, Kathleen M. Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Exposure to common infections in early life may stimulate immune development and reduce the risk for developing cancer. Birth order and family size are proxies for the timing of exposure to childhood infections with several studies showing a reduced risk of glioma associated with a higher order of birth (and presumed younger age at infection). The aim of this study was to examine whether birth order, family size, and other early life exposures are associated with the risk of glioma in adults using data collected in a large clinic-based US case-control study including 889 glioma cases and 903 community controls. A structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on family structure, childhood exposures and other potential risk factors. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the association between early life factors and glioma risk. Persons having any siblings were at significantly lower risk for glioma when compared to those reporting no siblings (OR = 0.64; 95 % CI 0.44-0.93; p = 0.020). Compared to first-borns, individuals with older siblings had a significantly lower risk (OR = 0.75; 95 % CI 0.61-0.91; p = 0.004). Birth weight, having been breast fed in infancy, and season of birth were not associated with glioma risk. The current findings lend further support to a growing body of evidence that early exposure to childhood infections reduces the risk of glioma onset in children and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-758
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Birth order
  • Birth weight
  • Breast feeding
  • Glioma
  • Siblings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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