The causes of glioblastoma are largely unknown. While research suggests that approximately 5 percent of all glioblastomas are caused by hereditary conditions, the remaining 95 percent are not attributed to any specific cause.
Glioblastoma cells have more genetic abnormalities than the cells of other types of astrocytoma brain cancer. As a result, researchers believe that several different genetic mutations are involved in the development of these cancers. These genetic mutations can be caused by:
- Inherited DNA defects
- Cumulative effects of exposure to chemicals and other carcinogens
- High-dose exposure to ionizing radiation
- Additional triggers that have yet to be identified
Many different studies are looking into potential genetic, environmental and occupational causes of glioblastoma, although the exact process by which healthy cells become cancerous is not yet completely understood. Researchers do know that genetic mutations can cause a cell to break away from its normal growth and death cycle; one abnormal cell can produce additional copies of itself that can eventually accumulate into a tumor. Glioblastoma cells do not die when they are supposed to; as a result, the tumor can continue to produce new cells and grow into surrounding tissues. Glioblastomas can even produce their own blood vessels to support their rapid growth.
Clinical research has allowed Moffitt Cancer Center’s neuro-oncologists to learn a great deal about how glioblastomas develop and grow. Because we not only treat brain cancers, but also emphasize research and innovation as well, we have been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. The more we learn about glioblastoma causes, the closer we get to an eventual cure.
To learn more about glioblastoma causes and risk factors, schedule a visit with one of our expert oncologists. Call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment.