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

Phone: (415) 476-1979 (voice)
Box 1215, UCSF, San Francisco, CA 94143-1215

View on UCSF Profiles

Cancer Center Membership

Program Member » 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.


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. Eckel-Passow JE, Lachance DH, Molinaro AM, Walsh KM, Decker PA, Sicotte H, Pekmezci M, Rice T, Kosel ML, Smirnov IV, Sarkar G, Caron AA, Kollmeyer TM, Praska CE, Chada AR, Halder C, Hansen HM, McCoy LS, Bracci PM, Marshall R, Zheng S, Reis GF, Pico AR, O'Neill BP, Buckner JC, Giannini C, Huse JT, Perry A, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Wiemels J, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Jenkins RB. Glioma Groups Based on 1p/19q, IDH, and TERT Promoter Mutations in Tumors. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 25; 372(26):2499-508.
    View on PubMed
  2. Walsh KM, Wiencke JK, Lachance DH, Wiemels JL, Molinaro AM, Eckel-Passow JE, Jenkins RB, Wrensch MR. Telomere maintenance and the etiology of adult glioma. Neuro Oncol. 2015 May 25.
    View on PubMed
  3. Bell RJ, Rube HT, Kreig A, Mancini A, Fouse SD, Nagarajan RP, Choi S, Hong C, He D, Pekmezci M, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Chang SM, Walsh KM, Myong S, Song JS, Costello JF. Cancer. The transcription factor GABP selectively binds and activates the mutant TERT promoter in cancer. Science. 2015 May 29; 348(6238):1036-9.
    View on PubMed
  4. Reis GF, Pekmezci M, Hansen HM, Rice T, Marshall RE, Molinaro AM, Phillips JJ, Vogel H, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Walsh KM, Perry A. CDKN2A Loss Is Associated With Shortened Overall Survival in Lower-Grade (World Health Organization Grades II-III) Astrocytomas. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2015 May; 74(5):442-52.
    View on PubMed
  5. Chen LS, Hung RJ, Baker T, Horton A, Culverhouse R, Saccone N, Cheng I, Deng B, Han Y, Hansen HM, Horsman J, Kim C, Lutz S, Rosenberger A, Aben KK, Andrew AS, Breslau N, Chang SC, Dieffenbach AK, Dienemann H, Frederiksen B, Han J, Hatsukami DK, Johnson EO, Pande M, Wrensch MR, McLaughlin J, Skaug V, van der Heijden HF, Wampfler J, Wenzlaff A, Woll P, Zienolddiny S, Bickeböller H, Brenner H, Duell EJ, Haugen A, Heinrich J, Hokanson JE, Hunter DJ, Kiemeney LA, Lazarus P, Le Marchand L, Liu G, Mayordomo J, Risch A, Schwartz AG, Teare D, Wu X, Wiencke JK, Yang P, Zhang ZF, Spitz MR, Kraft P, Amos CI, Bierut LJ. CHRNA5 Risk Variant Predicts Delayed Smoking Cessation and Earlier Lung Cancer Diagnosis-A Meta-Analysis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 May; 107(5).
    View on PubMed
  6. Ostrom QT, Bauchet L, Davis FG, Deltour I, Fisher JL, Langer CE, Pekmezci M, Schwartzbaum JA, Turner MC, Walsh KM, Wrensch MR, Barnholtz-Sloan JS. Response to "The epidemiology of glioma in adults: a 'state of the science' review". Neuro Oncol. 2015 Apr; 17(4):624-6.
    View on PubMed
  7. Lee ST, Muench MO, Fomin ME, Xiao J, Zhou M, de Smith A, Martín-Subero JI, Heath S, Houseman EA, Roy R, Wrensch M, Wiencke J, Metayer C, Wiemels JL. Epigenetic remodeling in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia occurs in two tracks and employs embryonic stem cell-like signatures. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Mar 11; 43(5):2590-602.
    View on PubMed
  8. Jalali A, Amirian ES, Bainbridge MN, Armstrong GN, Liu Y, Tsavachidis S, Jhangiani SN, Plon SE, 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, Aldape K, Amos CI, Muzny DM, Gibbs RA, Melin BS, Bondy ML. Targeted sequencing in chromosome 17q linkage region identifies familial glioma candidates in the gliogene consortium. Sci Rep. 2015; 5:8278.
    View on PubMed
  9. Zhou M, Bracci PM, McCoy LS, Hsuang G, Wiemels JL, Rice T, Zheng S, Kelsey KT, Wrensch MR, Wiencke JK. Serum macrophage-derived chemokine/CCL22 levels are associated with glioma risk, CD4 T cell lymphopenia and survival time. Int J Cancer. 2015 Aug 15; 137(4):826-36.
    View on PubMed
  10. Krishnamachari B, Il'yasova D, Scheurer ME, Bondy M, Zhou R, Wrensch M, Davis F. A pooled multisite analysis of the effects of atopic medical conditions in glioma risk in different ethnic groups. Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Apr; 25(4):270-4.
    View on PubMed
  11. Woehrer A, Lau CC, Prayer D, Bauchet L, Rosenfeld M, Capper D, Fisher PG, Kool M, Müller M, Kros JM, Kruchko C, Wiemels J, Wrensch M, Danysh HE, Zouaoui S, Heck JE, Johnson KJ, Qi X, O'Neill BP, Afzal S, Scheurer ME, Bainbridge MN, Nousome D, Bahassi el M, Hainfellner JA, Barnholtz-Sloan JS. Brain Tumor Epidemiology - A Hub within Multidisciplinary Neuro-oncology. Report on the 15th Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium (BTEC) Annual Meeting, Vienna, 2014. Clin Neuropathol. 2015 Jan-Feb; 34(1):40-6.
    View on PubMed
  12. Claus EB, Walsh KM, Wiencke JK, Molinaro AM, Wiemels JL, Schildkraut JM, Bondy ML, Berger M, Jenkins R, Wrensch M. Survival and low-grade glioma: the emergence of genetic information. Neurosurg Focus. 2015 Jan; 38(1):E6.
    View on PubMed
  13. Bainbridge MN, Armstrong GN, Gramatges MM, Bertuch AA, Jhangiani SN, Doddapaneni H, Lewis L, Tombrello J, Tsavachidis S, Liu Y, Jalali A, Plon SE, Lau CC, Parsons DW, Claus EB, Barnholtz-Sloan J, 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, Walsh KM, Davis FG, Lai R, Shete S, Aldape K, Amos CI, Thompson PA, Muzny DM, Gibbs RA, Melin BS, Bondy ML. Germline mutations in shelterin complex genes are associated with familial glioma. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Jan; 107(1).
    View on PubMed
  14. Wiencke JK, Bracci PM, Hsuang G, Zheng S, Hansen H, Wrensch MR, Rice T, Eliot M, Kelsey KT. A comparison of DNA methylation specific droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and real time qPCR with flow cytometry in characterizing human T cells in peripheral blood. Epigenetics. 2014 Oct 3; 9(10):1360-5.
    View on PubMed
  15. Wang Z, Zhu B, Zhang M, Parikh H, Jia J, Chung CC, Sampson JN, Hoskins JW, Hutchinson A, Burdette L, Ibrahim A, Hautman C, Raj PS, Abnet CC, Adjei AA, Ahlbom A, Albanes D, Allen NE, Ambrosone CB, Aldrich M, Amiano P, Amos C, Andersson U, Andriole G, Andrulis IL, Arici C, Arslan AA, Austin MA, Baris D, Barkauskas DA, Bassig BA, Beane Freeman LE, Berg CD, Berndt SI, Bertazzi PA, Biritwum RB, Black A, Blot W, Boeing H, Boffetta P, Bolton K, Boutron-Ruault MC, Bracci PM, Brennan P, Brinton LA, Brotzman M, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Buring JE, Butler MA, Cai Q, Cancel-Tassin G, Canzian F, Cao G, Caporaso NE, Carrato A, Carreon T, Carta A, Chang GC, Chang IS, Chang-Claude J, Che X, Chen CJ, Chen CY, Chen CH, Chen C, Chen KY, Chen YM, Chokkalingam AP, Chu LW, Clavel-Chapelon F, Colditz GA, Colt JS, Conti D, Cook MB, Cortessis VK, Crawford ED, Cussenot O, Davis FG, De Vivo I, Deng X, Ding T, Dinney CP, Di Stefano AL, Diver WR, Duell EJ, Elena JW, Fan JH, Feigelson HS, Feychting M, Figueroa JD, Flanagan AM, Fraumeni JF, Freedman ND, Fridley BL, Fuchs CS, Gago-Dominguez M, Gallinger S, Gao YT, Gapstur SM, Garcia-Closas M, Garcia-Closas R, Gastier-Foster JM, Gaziano JM, Gerhard DS, Giffen CA, Giles GG, Gillanders EM, Giovannucci EL, Goggins M, Gokgoz N, Goldstein AM, Gonzalez C, Gorlick R, Greene MH, Gross M, Grossman HB, Grubb R, Gu J, Guan P, Haiman CA, Hallmans G, Hankinson SE, Harris CC, Hartge P, Hattinger C, Hayes RB, He Q, Helman L, Henderson BE, Henriksson R, Hoffman-Bolton J, Hohensee C, Holly EA, Hong YC, Hoover RN, Hosgood HD, Hsiao CF, Hsing AW, Hsiung CA, Hu N, Hu W, Hu Z, Huang MS, Hunter DJ, Inskip PD, Ito H, Jacobs EJ, Jacobs KB, Jenab M, Ji BT, Johansen C, Johansson M, Johnson A, Kaaks R, Kamat AM, Kamineni A, Karagas M, Khanna C, Khaw KT, Kim C, Kim IS, Kim JH, Kim YH, Kim YC, Kim YT, Kang CH, Jung YJ, Kitahara CM, Klein AP, Klein R, Kogevinas M, Koh WP, Kohno T, Kolonel LN, Kooperberg C, Kratz CP, Krogh V, Kunitoh H, Kurtz RC, Kurucu N, Lan Q, Lathrop M, Lau CC, Lecanda F, Lee KM, Lee MP, Le Marchand L, Lerner SP, Li D, Liao LM, Lim WY, Lin D, Lin J, Lindstrom S, Linet MS, Lissowska J, Liu J, Ljungberg B, Lloreta J, Lu D, Ma J, Malats N, Mannisto S, Marina N, Mastrangelo G, Matsuo K, McGlynn KA, McKean-Cowdin R, McNeill LH, McWilliams RR, Melin BS, Meltzer PS, Mensah JE, Miao X, Michaud DS, Mondul AM, Moore LE, Muir K, Niwa S, Olson SH, Orr N, Panico S, Park JY, Patel AV, Patino-Garcia A, Pavanello S, Peeters PH, Peplonska B, Peters U, Petersen GM, Picci P, Pike MC, Porru S, Prescott J, Pu X, Purdue MP, Qiao YL, Rajaraman P, Riboli E, Risch HA, Rodabough RJ, Rothman N, Ruder AM, Ryu JS, Sanson M, Schned A, Schumacher FR, Schwartz AG, Schwartz KL, Schwenn M, Scotlandi K, Seow A, Serra C, Serra M, Sesso HD, Severi G, Shen H, Shen M, Shete S, Shiraishi K, Shu XO, Siddiq A, Sierrasesumaga L, Sierri S, Loon Sihoe AD, Silverman DT, Simon M, Southey MC, Spector L, Spitz M, Stampfer M, Stattin P, Stern MC, Stevens VL, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Stram DO, Strom SS, Su WC, Sund M, Sung SW, Swerdlow A, Tan W, Tanaka H, Tang W, Tang ZZ, Tardon A, Tay E, Taylor PR, Tettey Y, Thomas DM, Tirabosco R, Tjonneland A, Tobias GS, Toro JR, Travis RC, Trichopoulos D, Troisi R, Truelove A, Tsai YH, Tucker MA, Tumino R, Van Den Berg D, Van Den Eeden SK, Vermeulen R, Vineis P, Visvanathan K, Vogel U, Wang C, Wang C, Wang J, Wang SS, Weiderpass E, Weinstein SJ, Wentzensen N, Wheeler W, White E, Wiencke JK, Wolk A, Wolpin BM, Wong MP, Wrensch M, Wu C, Wu T, Wu X, Wu YL, Wunder JS, Xiang YB, Xu J, Yang HP, Yang PC, Yatabe Y, Ye Y, Yeboah ED, Yin Z, Ying C, Yu CJ, Yu K, Yuan JM, Zanetti KA, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zheng W, Zhou B, Mirabello L, Savage SA, Kraft P, Chanock SJ, Yeager M, Landi MT, Shi J, Chatterjee N, Amundadottir LT. Imputation and subset-based association analysis across different cancer types identifies multiple independent risk loci in the TERT-CLPTM1L region on chromosome 5p15.33. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Dec 15; 23(24):6616-33.
    View on PubMed
  16. Ostrom QT, Bauchet L, Davis FG, Deltour I, Fisher JL, Langer CE, Pekmezci M, Schwartzbaum JA, Turner MC, Walsh KM, Wrensch MR, Barnholtz-Sloan JS. The epidemiology of glioma in adults: a "state of the science" review. Neuro Oncol. 2014 Jul; 16(7):896-913.
    View on PubMed
  17. Walsh KM, Codd V, Smirnov IV, Rice T, Decker PA, Hansen HM, Kollmeyer T, Kosel ML, Molinaro AM, McCoy LS, Bracci PM, Cabriga BS, Pekmezci M, Zheng S, Wiemels JL, Pico AR, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Lachance DH, O'Neill BP, Sicotte H, Eckel-Passow JE. Variants near TERT and TERC influencing telomere length are associated with high-grade glioma risk. Nat Genet. 2014 Jul; 46(7):731-5.
    View on PubMed
  18. Krishnamachari B, Il'yasova D, Scheurer ME, Bondy ML, Wrensch M, Davis FG. A pooled multisite analysis of the effects of female reproductive hormones on glioma risk. Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Aug; 25(8):1007-13.
    View on PubMed
  19. Andersson U, Wibom C, Cederquist K, Aradottir S, Borg A, Armstrong GN, Shete S, Lau CC, Bainbridge MN, Claus EB, Barnholtz-Sloan J, Lai R, Il'yasova D, Houlston RS, Schildkraut J, Bernstein JL, Olson SH, Jenkins RB, Lachance DH, Wrensch M, Davis FG, Merrell R, Johansen C, Sadetzki S. Germline rearrangements in families with strong family history of glioma and malignant melanoma, colon, and breast cancer. Neuro Oncol. 2014 Oct; 16(10):1333-40.
    View on PubMed
  20. Scarbrough PM, Akushevich I, Wrensch M, Il'yasova D. Exploring the association between melanoma and glioma risks. Ann Epidemiol. 2014 Jun; 24(6):469-74.
    View on PubMed

Go to UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI