Glioma is a serious type of tumor that develops in the central nervous system. It originates from glial cells, which are responsible for supporting neurons and helping them to maintain their proper functioning. They can affect brain function and can be life-threatening, although their characteristics and approach depend on the type of glioma and its location. They are rare, affecting 6 out of every 100,000 people.

As with most brain tumors, the exact cause of the development of gliomas is unknown, although it is postulated that they are the result of the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. In addition, risk factors have been identified that may contribute to their occurrence:

  • The diagnosis of glioma is more frequent after the age of 45, although it can occur at any age. There are certain types of gliomas, such as ependymomas, which are more common in children and young adults.
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation. This is the most important risk factor in the development of gliomas. People exposed to this type of radiation (X-rays, radiotherapy for cancer, radiation caused by atomic bombs, etc.) have a higher risk of suffering this type of tumor.
  • Syndromes that increase the predisposition to develop tumors such as Lynch syndrome or Li-Fraumeni syndrome.


The symptoms of glioma vary according to its location and the type of tumor, although the most common are the following:

  • Headache.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Confusion or decreased brain function.
  • Memory loss.
  • Personality changes.
  • balance problems
  • seizures
  • slurred speech
  • vision problems

Symptoms may worsen or change as the tumor grows and compresses different parts of the brain, increasing swelling and pressure in the skull. If the tumor develops in the spinal cord, it can cause pain, weakness and numbness of the extremities.


There is no total preventive measure for the development of gliomas, however, in some cases avoiding modifiable risk factors may help to reduce it. At the moment, the only identified risk factor clearly associated with the development of these tumors is exposure to ionizing radiation.

Exposure to this type of radiation can occur by different routes:

  • Internal exposure: occurs when the radionuclide is inhaled, ingested or injected.
  • External exposure: occurs when the radioactive material is present in the environment.

The people most exposed to this type of radiation are astronauts (from cosmic radiation), X-ray medical personnel, researchers and radioactive facility personnel. In addition, additional exposures may be received at each X-ray and nuclear medicine examination.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

9 loci

Genes analyzed



Haven't you taken a DNA test yet?

Get your genetic test and find out all about yourself.

Starter DNA test

Ancestry, Traits and Wellness

Advanced DNA test

Health, Ancestry, Traits and Wellness

The DNA test you were looking for