What causes childhood brain tumors? Limited knowledge, many clues

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2000 Jun;32(6):321-6. doi: 10.1159/000028961.


Little is known about the causes of brain tumors in children. Children with one of several genetic disorders including tuberous sclerosis and Li-Fraumeni syndrome are at increased risk, as are children who have received therapeutic irradiation to their head. The multifactorial causation of brain tumors, the inaccuracies of recall of past exposures, and the study of all pediatric brain tumors as a single etiologic entity may be contributing to the difficulty in identifying additional risk factors. The evidence that frequent cured meat consumption by the mother during pregnancy increases the risk is suggestive but not conclusive. For other potential risk factors, the evidence is limited and/or conflicting. These exposures and characteristics include pesticides, carcinogen metabolizing genes, and polyomaviruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / virology
  • Carcinogens / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Glioma / epidemiology
  • Glioma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Nitro Compounds
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polyomavirus
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Carcinogens
  • Nitro Compounds