Brain tumor myths and truths

SAN ANTONIO (February 28, 2011) – The way people’s cell phones are glued to their ears these days, one might expect the brain tumor rate to soar.

It hasn’t. “The rate hasn’t changed at all. Not one iota,” said Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist at the UT Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center.

A new study showing that less than an hour of steady cell phone exposure increases brain activity in certain areas is interesting, Dr. Brenner said, but it does not support theories of long-term injury.

However, myths and fears about what can cause brain tumors — microwaves, power lines, sports drinks and MSG — continue to abound. Dr. Brenner will address those and offer the latest facts in a free public lecture on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m.

Brain tumors are relatively rare, but when they are malignant, they are devastating and incurable, Dr. Brenner said. “It can seem like Alzheimer’s in fast-forward.”

He will describe novel treatments for brain tumors, including new strategies to coax drugs through the blood-brain barrier (a semipermeable seal that protects the brain from many substances) and into the tumor.

The presentation will be given at the CTRC, 7979 Wurzbach, in the Mabee conference room on the fourth floor of the Grossman Building. Refreshments will be provided. To make reservations (which are encouraged but not required) and for more information, call 210-450-1152.

This is the fourth in a series of free monthly public lectures on cancer sponsored by the CTRC. On April 14, Kevin Hall, M.D. will speak on the topic of cancer prevention for women over 40, including ovarian, breast and cervical cancer.


The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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