Infectious Disease

An infection with Toxoplasma gondii can improve the danger of gliomas

January 11, 2021

2 min read

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The Center for Immunization and Infection Research at the Moffitt Cancer Center supported the study. Egan does not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Infection with Toxoplasma gondii appeared to increase the risk of gliomas in adults, according to study results published in the International Journal of Cancer.

“The hypothesis that T. gondii could be a risk factor for gliomas was first made in studies that indicated higher rates of brain tumors in areas with endemic parasites. A few small epidemiological studies followed, which seem to support a connection. ” Kathleen M. Egan, ScD, Researchers in the department of cancer epidemiology at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Healio said. “The researchers were interested in the question because the parasite is tropical to the brain and the infection has been linked to neurological problems, all of which raise concerns about being linked to brain tumors. Our study is the first to show a link between T. gondii antibodies in the blood – indicating previous infection – and the subsequent development of a glioma. “

Infection with Toxoplasma gondii appeared to increase the risk of glioma in adults.

Infection with Toxoplasma gondii appeared to increase the risk of glioma in adults.

T. gondii is a parasitic infection, often caused by undercooked meat, that may cause cysts in the brain. Previous research has shown an association between the risk of glioma and an increased prevalence of T. gondii infections. However, there is a lack of prospective data.

Kathleen M. Egan, ScD

Kathleen M. Egan

For this reason, Egan and colleagues investigated the association of prediagnostic T. gondii antibodies with glioma risk in participants in the diet cohort of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II (cases n = 37; controls n = 74) and the registry’s Norwegian cancer Janus Serum Bank (Cases, n = 323; controls, n = 323).

About 54% of the patients with glioma in the American Cancer Society cohort were women. The mean age at blood draw in both cases and controls was 70 years, and the mean year of blood draw was 2000. In the Norwegian cohort, approximately 68% of patients with glioma were men and the mean age at blood draw was 40 Years and The mean year of blood collection was 1983.

Researchers analyzed blood samples taken prior to diagnosing glioma to assess the presence of antibodies to two T. gondii surface antigens and considered those with antibodies to one of the two antigens to be seropositive. They used conditional logistic regression to calculate ORs.

The results showed an increased risk of glioma in patients with T. gondii infection in both the American Cancer Society cohort (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 0.96-7.62) and in the Norwegian cohort (OR = 1.32; 95% CI, 0.85-2.07)). Those with high levels of antibody titers specific for the sag-1 antigen showed the highest risk (American Cancer Society cohort, OR = 3.35; 95% CI, 0.99-11.38; Norwegian cohort, OR = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.02-3.14).

The researchers observed similar positive associations between overall T. gondii seroprevalence and glioblastoma in each cohort (American Cancer Society, OR = 2.31; 95% CI, 0.71-7.47; Norwegian, OR = 1.5 , 95% CI, 0.83-2.72).

One of the limitations of the study was the fact that the limited sample size made it impossible to reliably assess T. gondii associations specific for the glioma subtype, exposure latency, and antibody titer in the American Cancer Society cohort . Investigators were also unable to judge associations by race and ethnicity, as most of the patients in both cohorts were white. In some cases, blood samples were taken years before the serological test for T. gondii, and long storage time could affect the results, according to the researchers.

“If our results are confirmed, avoiding exposure to T. gondii is a way of reducing the risk of gliomas. This is important as there are few ways you can reduce your risk for these aggressive tumors. Larger prospective studies are needed to validate our results, ”said Egan.

For more informations:

Kathleen M. Egan, ScD, reachable at Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612; Email: kathleen.egan@moffitt.org.

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