The Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium held its annual meeting at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, June 2-4, 2015 and hosted by Robert Jenkins and Brian Patrick O’Neill. This year’s meeting theme “Evolving Evidence on Tumor and Germline Genetic Classification of Gliomas: Implications for Etiology and Survival Studies” included presentations that emphasized new findings in the impact on clinical outcome of new tumor genetic classifications, methodological practice of population studies, and intratumoral genetic and biological complexities of tumors. Roel Verhaak and Bob Jenkins presented results from large, collaborative studies demonstrating the strong impact of the tumor genetic features, TERT and IDH mutations and 1p19q deletions on low grade gliomas. These classifiers also display specific risk profiles from susceptibility alleles and helped predict age at onset, and classify tumors better than traditional histopathological features. Gloria Peterson presented tour de force research in population genetics, stimulating intense discussion on the responsibility and means of returning research results to research participants in this “age of big data” where the individual impact of genetic risk alleles is not always crystal clear. Mike Oldham provided a provocative presentation on an intensive investigation of gene expression signatures in a single tumor, showing the complexity of the gradients of cell types and mutations across the tumor indicative of a tumor evolutionary process, one that will need to be grappled in further research on causes and treatments of brain tumors. Additional speakers presented their latest research on the epidemiologic causes of brain tumors and covered topics such as genetics and epigenetics, environmental exposures, immune modulators, and individual case reports. This exciting meeting was bookended with many group activities providing opportunities for interaction and collaboration of BTEC participants. We look forward to next year’s meeting which will be held in the beautiful city of Barcelona!
See the BTEC 2015 crew by the famous Mayo lobby glass sculpture: