People with respiratory allergies, asthma and the skin condition eczema may be less likely to develop glioma brain cancer, a new study suggests.
The international team of researchers looked at more than 4,500 glioma patients and almost 4,200 people without brain cancer. The investigators found that a history of respiratory allergies, asthma and eczema was associated with a reduced risk for glioma.
People with respiratory allergies or eczema were 30 percent less likely to develop the deadly brain cancer than those without such conditions, the study found.
Although the study found an association between allergic conditions and a lower risk of gliomas, it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between those factors.
The study was released online Feb. 5 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
“Many other studies have shown this relationship,” study author Melissa Bondy, associate director for cancer prevention and population science at Baylor College of Medicine’s Cancer Center, said in a college news release.
“We sought to verify this relationship in the largest study to date so that we could provide a scientific consensus statement on the topic. We feel it’s now time for the next steps to be taken in this research area,” she added.
And, that next step is figuring out the mechanism behind the association, Bondy said.
Glioma is the term used to describe tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Just over one-quarter of all brain tumors and 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors are gliomas.
The American Brain Tumor Association has more about glioma.