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Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor. With an incidence rate of 3.19 per 100,000 persons in the United States and a median age of 64 years, it is uncommon in children. The incidence is 1.6 times higher in males compared to females and 2.0 times higher in Caucasians compared to Africans and Afro-Americans, with lower incidence in Asians and American Indians. GBM is commonly located in the supratentorial region (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes) and is rarely located in cerebellum. Genetic and environmental factors have been investigated in GBM. Risk factors include prior radiotherapy, decreased susceptibility to allergy, immune factors and immune genes, as well as some single nucleotide polymorphisms detected by genomic analysis. Use of anti-inflammatory medication has been found to be protective against GBM. Survival from GBM is poor; only few patients survive 2.5 years and less than 5% of patients survive 5 years following diagnosis. Survival rates for patients with GBM have shown no notable improvement in population statistics in the last three decades. Molecular epidemiology integrates molecular technology into epidemiological studies and outcomes. The future of the epidemiology of GBM will depend on multicenter studies generating large clinical data sets of genomic data potentially leading to further understanding of the roles of genes and environment in the development of this devastating disease.
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