University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Margaret R. Wrensch, PhD

Margaret R. Wrensch, PhD

Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Neurologic Oncology | Cancer Genetics

Research Summary

I became a UCSF faculty member in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 1985 and joined the Department of Neurological Surgery in 2004. I began one of the first large-scale population based epidemiologic studies of adult glioma in 1991 and have since served as PI of this NCI funded R01 entitled “Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology of Adult Glioma”. I have been a Project co-Leader of the Brain Tumor SPORE project “San Francisco Bay Area Adult Glioma Survival Study” since 2002. In 2009, we completed one of the first genome-wide association studies of adult glioma in which we identified several glioma risk loci. In 2012, we discovered a glioma risk allele that confers a six-fold risk of oligodendroglial tumors and IDH mutated astrocytomas. In 2015, we published another study in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic that defined five glioma molecular groups based on 1p/19q co-deletion, IDH mutation, and mutations in the TERT promoter that appear to have distinct mechanisms of pathogenesis and that account for over 95% of grade II-IV gliomas. We are in the process of conducting large-scale genome wide association studies of glioma survival, meningioma, and childhood leukemia. In addition, I have been a co-investigator for other multi-site studies of glioma risk and of familial glioma risk, genetic epidemiology of lung cancer, and breast cancer epidemiology. I am a leader in the brain tumor epidemiology research community having served as US Co-President of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium. My service to the NIH includes participation in numerous review panels over my 30-year career, as well as recently serving as a member on the EPIC-CASE study section.

Education

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, B.Sc., 1971, Genetics
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, M.Sc., 1973, Population Genetics
University of California, Berkeley, CA, M.P.H., 1977, Epidemiology
University of California, Berkeley, CA, Ph.D., 1983, Epidemiology


Professional Experience

  • 1985-1988
    Epidemiologist, California Department of Health Services, Berkeley
  • 1986-present
    Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor (Adjunct 1986-6/2002; In Residence 7/2002-present), Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1993-1994
    Chief, Division of Epidemiology at Parnassus, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2001-present
    Adjunct Investigator, Kaiser Permanente, Division of Research, Oakland
  • 2001
    Interim Head, Cancer Epidemiology Division, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2004-present
    Co-Director Neuroepidemiology Division
  • 2005
    Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research

Selected Publications

  1. Benz LS, Wrensch MR, Schildkraut JM, Bondy ML, Warren JL, Wiemels JL, Claus EB. Quality of life after surgery for intracranial meningioma. Cancer. 2017 Sep 13.
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  2. Jones CC, Bush WS, Crawford DC, Wenzlaff AS, Schwartz AG, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Blot WJ, Chanock SJ, Grogan EL, Aldrich MC. Germline Genetic Variants and Lung Cancer Survival in African Americans. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Aug; 26(8):1288-1295.
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  3. Haycock PC, Burgess S, Nounu A, Zheng J, Okoli GN, Bowden J, Wade KH, Timpson NJ, Evans DM, Willeit P, Aviv A, Gaunt TR, Hemani G, Mangino M, Ellis HP, Kurian KM, Pooley KA, Eeles RA, Lee JE, Fang S, Chen WV, Law MH, Bowdler LM, Iles MM, Yang Q, Worrall BB, Markus HS, Hung RJ, Amos CI, Spurdle AB, Thompson DJ, O'Mara TA, Wolpin B, Amundadottir L, Stolzenberg-Solomon R, Trichopoulou A, Onland-Moret NC, Lund E, Duell EJ, Canzian F, Severi G, Overvad K, Gunter MJ, Tumino R, Svenson U, van Rij A, Baas AF, Bown MJ, Samani NJ, van t'Hof FNG, Tromp G, Jones GT, Kuivaniemi H, Elmore JR, Johansson M, Mckay J, Scelo G, Carreras-Torres R, Gaborieau V, Brennan P, Bracci PM, Neale RE, Olson SH, Gallinger S, Li D, Petersen GM, Risch HA, Klein AP, Han J, Abnet CC, Freedman ND, Taylor PR, Maris JM, Aben KK, Kiemeney LA, Vermeulen SH, Wiencke JK, Walsh KM, Wrensch M, Rice T, Turnbull C, Litchfield K, Paternoster L, Standl M, Abecasis GR, SanGiovanni JP, Li Y, Mijatovic V, Sapkota Y, Low SK, Zondervan KT, Montgomery GW, Nyholt DR, van Heel DA, Hunt K, Arking DE, Ashar FN, Sotoodehnia N, Woo D, Rosand J, Comeau ME, Brown WM, Silverman EK, Hokanson JE, Cho MH, Hui J, Ferreira MA, Thompson PJ, Morrison AC, Felix JF, Smith NL, Christiano AM, Petukhova L, Betz RC, Fan X, Zhang X, Zhu C, Langefeld CD, Thompson SD, Wang F, Lin X, Schwartz DA, Fingerlin T, Rotter JI, Cotch MF, Jensen RA, Munz M, Dommisch H, Schaefer AS, Han F, Ollila HM, Hillary RP, Albagha O, Ralston SH, Zeng C, Zheng W, Shu XO, Reis A, Uebe S, Hüffmeier U, Kawamura Y, Otowa T, Sasaki T, Hibberd ML, Davila S, Xie G, Siminovitch K, Bei JX, Zeng YX, Försti A, Chen B, Landi S, Franke A, Fischer A, Ellinghaus D, Flores C, Noth I, Ma SF, Foo JN, Liu J, Kim JW, Cox DG, Delattre O, Mirabeau O, Skibola CF, Tang CS, Garcia-Barcelo M, Chang KP, Su WH, Chang YS, Martin NG, Gordon S, Wade TD, Lee C, Kubo M, Cha PC, Nakamura Y, Levy D, Kimura M, Hwang SJ, Hunt S, Spector T, Soranzo N, Manichaikul AW, Barr RG, Kahali B, Speliotes E, Yerges-Armstrong LM, Cheng CY, Jonas JB, Wong TY, Fogh I, Lin K, Powell JF, Rice K, Relton CL, Martin RM, Davey Smith G. Association Between Telomere Length and Risk of Cancer and Non-Neoplastic Diseases: A Mendelian Randomization Study. JAMA Oncol. 2017 May 01; 3(5):636-651.
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  4. Melin BS, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Wrensch MR, Johansen C, Il'yasova D, Kinnersley B, Ostrom QT, Labreche K, Chen Y, Armstrong G, Liu Y, Eckel-Passow JE, Decker PA, Labussière M, Idbaih A, Hoang-Xuan K, Di Stefano AL, Mokhtari K, Delattre JY, Broderick P, Galan P, Gousias K, Schramm J, Schoemaker MJ, Fleming SJ, Herms S, Heilmann S, Nöthen MM, Wichmann HE, Schreiber S, Swerdlow A, Lathrop M, Simon M, Sanson M, Andersson U, Rajaraman P, Chanock S, Linet M, Wang Z, Yeager M, Wiencke JK, Hansen H, McCoy L, Rice T, Kosel ML, Sicotte H, Amos CI, Bernstein JL, Davis F, Lachance D, Lau C, Merrell RT, Shildkraut J, Ali-Osman F, Sadetzki S, Scheurer M, Shete S, Lai RK, Claus EB, Olson SH, Jenkins RB, Houlston RS, Bondy ML. Genome-wide association study of glioma subtypes identifies specific differences in genetic susceptibility to glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma tumors. Nat Genet. 2017 May; 49(5):789-794.
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  5. Pekmezci M, Rice T, Molinaro AM, Walsh KM, Decker PA, Hansen H, Sicotte H, Kollmeyer TM, McCoy LS, Sarkar G, Perry A, Giannini C, Tihan T, Berger MS, Wiemels JL, Bracci PM, Eckel-Passow JE, Lachance DH, Clarke J, Taylor JW, Luks T, Wiencke JK, Jenkins RB, Wrensch MR. Adult infiltrating gliomas with WHO 2016 integrated diagnosis: additional prognostic roles of ATRX and TERT. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Jun; 133(6):1001-1016.
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  6. Wiencke JK, Koestler DC, Salas LA, Wiemels JL, Roy RP, Hansen HM, Rice T, McCoy LS, Bracci PM, Molinaro AM, Kelsey KT, Wrensch MR, Christensen BC. Immunomethylomic approach to explore the blood neutrophil lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in glioma survival. Clin Epigenetics. 2017; 9:10.
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  7. Chen LS, Baker T, Hung RJ, Horton A, Culverhouse R, Hartz S, Saccone N, Cheng I, Deng B, Han Y, Hansen HM, Horsman J, Kim C, Rosenberger A, Aben KK, Andrew AS, Chang SC, Saum KU, Dienemann H, Hatsukami DK, Johnson EO, Pande M, Wrensch MR, McLaughlin J, Skaug V, van der Heijden EH, Wampfler J, Wenzlaff A, Woll P, Zienolddiny S, Bickeböller H, Brenner H, Duell EJ, Haugen A, Brüske I, Kiemeney LA, Lazarus P, Le Marchand L, Liu G, Mayordomo J, Risch A, Schwartz AG, Teare MD, Wu X, Wiencke JK, Yang P, Zhang ZF, Spitz MR, Amos CI, Bierut LJ. Genetic Risk Can Be Decreased: Quitting Smoking Decreases and Delays Lung Cancer for Smokers With High and Low CHRNA5 Risk Genotypes - A Meta-Analysis. EBioMedicine. 2016 Sep; 11:219-226.
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  8. Gonseth S, de Smith AJ, Roy R, Zhou M, Lee ST, Shao X, Ohja J, Wrensch MR, Walsh KM, Metayer C, Wiemels JL. Genetic contribution to variation in DNA methylation at maternal smoking-sensitive loci in exposed neonates. Epigenetics. 2016 Sep; 11(9):664-673.
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  9. Ojha J, Codd V, Nelson CP, Samani NJ, Smirnov IV, Madsen NR, Hansen HM, de Smith AJ, Bracci PM, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Wiemels JL, Walsh KM. Genetic Variation Associated with Longer Telomere Length Increases Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jul; 25(7):1043-9.
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  10. Zanetti KA, Wang Z, Aldrich M, Amos CI, Blot WJ, Bowman ED, Burdette L, Cai Q, Caporaso N, Chung CC, Gillanders EM, Haiman CA, Hansen HM, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN, Marchand LL, Li S, McNeill LH, Ryan BM, Schwartz AG, Sison JD, Spitz MR, Tucker M, Wenzlaff AS, Wiencke JK, Wilkens L, Wrensch MR, Wu X, Zheng W, Zhou W, Christiani D, Palmer JR, Penning TM, Rieber AG, Rosenberg L, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Su L, Vachani A, Wei Y, Whitehead AS, Chanock SJ, Harris CC. Genome-wide association study confirms lung cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 5p15 and 15q25 in an African-American population. Lung Cancer. 2016 Aug; 98:33-42.
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  11. Amirian ES, Scheurer ME, Zhou R, Wrensch MR, Armstrong GN, Lachance D, Olson SH, Lau CC, Claus EB, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Il'yasova D, Schildkraut J, Ali-Osman F, Sadetzki S, Jenkins RB, Bernstein JL, Merrell RT, Davis FG, Lai R, Shete S, Amos CI, Melin BS, Bondy ML. History of chickenpox in glioma risk: a report from the glioma international case-control study (GICC). Cancer Med. 2016 06; 5(6):1352-8.
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  12. Amirian ES, Zhou R, Wrensch MR, Olson SH, Scheurer ME, Il'yasova D, Lachance D, Armstrong GN, McCoy LS, Lau CC, Claus EB, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Schildkraut J, Ali-Osman F, Sadetzki S, Johansen C, Houlston RS, Jenkins RB, Bernstein JL, Merrell RT, Davis FG, Lai R, Shete S, Amos CI, Melin BS, Bondy ML. Approaching a Scientific Consensus on the Association between Allergies and Glioma Risk: A Report from the Glioma International Case-Control Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Feb; 25(2):282-90.
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  13. Ceccarelli M, Barthel FP, Malta TM, Sabedot TS, Salama SR, Murray BA, Morozova O, Newton Y, Radenbaugh A, Pagnotta SM, Anjum S, Wang J, Manyam G, Zoppoli P, Ling S, Rao AA, Grifford M, Cherniack AD, Zhang H, Poisson L, Carlotti CG, Tirapelli DP, Rao A, Mikkelsen T, Lau CC, Yung WK, Rabadan R, Huse J, Brat DJ, Lehman NL, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Zheng S, Hess K, Rao G, Meyerson M, Beroukhim R, Cooper L, Akbani R, Wrensch M, Haussler D, Aldape KD, Laird PW, Gutmann DH, Noushmehr H, Iavarone A, Verhaak RG. Molecular Profiling Reveals Biologically Discrete Subsets and Pathways of Progression in Diffuse Glioma. Cell. 2016 Jan 28; 164(3):550-63.
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  14. David SP, Wang A, Kapphahn K, Hedlin H, Desai M, Henderson M, Yang L, Walsh KM, Schwartz AG, Wiencke JK, Spitz MR, Wenzlaff AS, Wrensch MR, Eaton CB, Furberg H, Mark Brown W, Goldstein BA, Assimes T, Tang H, Kooperberg CL, Quesenberry CP, Tindle H, Patel MI, Amos CI, Bergen AW, Swan GE, Stefanick ML. Gene by Environment Investigation of Incident Lung Cancer Risk in African-Americans. EBioMedicine. 2016 Feb; 4:153-61.
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  15. Walsh KM, Ohgaki H, Wrensch MR. Epidemiology. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016; 134:3-18.
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  16. Walsh KM, Codd V, Rice T, Nelson CP, Smirnov IV, McCoy LS, Hansen HM, Elhauge E, Ojha J, Francis SS, Madsen NR, Bracci PM, Pico AR, Molinaro AM, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Jenkins RB, Wiemels JL, Samani NJ, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR. Longer genotypically-estimated leukocyte telomere length is associated with increased adult glioma risk. Oncotarget. 2015 Dec 15; 6(40):42468-77.
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  17. Amirian ES, Armstrong GN, Zhou R, Lau CC, Claus EB, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Il'yasova D, Schildkraut J, Ali-Osman F, Sadetzki S, Johansen C, Houlston RS, Jenkins RB, Lachance D, Olson SH, Bernstein JL, Merrell RT, Wrensch MR, Davis FG, Lai R, Shete S, Amos CI, Scheurer ME, Aldape K, Alafuzoff I, Brännström T, Broholm H, Collins P, Giannini C, Rosenblum M, Tihan T, Melin BS, Bondy ML. The Glioma International Case-Control Study: A Report From the Genetic Epidemiology of Glioma International Consortium. Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Jan 15; 183(2):85-91.
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  18. Molinaro AM, Wrensch MR, Jenkins RB, Eckel-Passow JE. Statistical considerations on prognostic models for glioma. Neuro Oncol. 2016 May; 18(5):609-23.
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  19. Walsh KM, de Smith AJ, Hansen HM, Smirnov IV, Gonseth S, Endicott AA, Xiao J, Rice T, Fu CH, McCoy LS, Lachance DH, Eckel-Passow JE, Wiencke JK, Jenkins RB, Wrensch MR, Ma X, Metayer C, Wiemels JL. A Heritable Missense Polymorphism in CDKN2A Confers Strong Risk of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Is Preferentially Selected during Clonal Evolution. Cancer Res. 2015 Nov 15; 75(22):4884-94.
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  20. Rice T, Lachance DH, Molinaro AM, Eckel-Passow JE, Walsh KM, Barnholtz-Sloan J, Ostrom QT, Francis SS, Wiemels J, Jenkins RB, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR. Understanding inherited genetic risk of adult glioma - a review. Neurooncol Pract. 2016 Mar; 3(1):10-16.
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