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Brain tumours "may be hereditary"

People with a family history of brain tumours should inform theirdoctors as evidence suggests the condition could be largely hereditary.

Doctors who looked at the medical records of 1,401 patients found thatpeople with a family history of brain cancer were at higher riskthemselves.

Members of the group had at least one of two types of brain tumour, glioblastoma or the less aggressive astrocytoma.

Medical history information was available for at least three generations of each participant.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that patientswhose immediate relatives suffered from glioblastomas had twice thenormal risk of developing the same kind of tumour.

Having an immediate relative with an astrocytoma almost quadrupled the chances of developing that kind of cancer.

Dr Deborah Blumenthal, from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre inIsrael, said: "Our study suggests that people with a family history ofbrain tumours should make their doctor aware of this and tell themabout any other risk factors they have.

"Hopefully studies like these will eventually help us to identify genesthat may be responsible for these types of brain tumours."

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