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

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. Disney-Hogg L, Cornish AJ, Sud A, Law PJ, Kinnersley B, Jacobs DI, Ostrom QT, Labreche K, Eckel-Passow JE, Armstrong GN, Claus EB, Il'yasova D, Schildkraut J, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Olson SH, Bernstein JL, Lai RK, Schoemaker MJ, Simon M, Hoffmann P, Nöthen MM, Jöckel KH, Chanock S, Rajaraman P, Johansen C, Jenkins RB, Melin BS, Wrensch MR, Sanson M, Bondy ML, Houlston RS. Impact of atopy on risk of glioma: a Mendelian randomisation study. BMC Med. 2018 03 15; 16(1):42.
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  2. Disney-Hogg L, Sud A, Law PJ, Cornish AJ, Kinnersley B, Ostrom QT, Labreche K, Eckel-Passow JE, Armstrong GN, Claus EB, Il'yasova D, Schildkraut J, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Olson SH, Bernstein JL, Lai RK, Swerdlow AJ, Simon M, Hoffmann P, Nöthen MM, Jöckel KH, Chanock S, Rajaraman P, Johansen C, Jenkins RB, Melin BS, Wrensch MR, Sanson M, Bondy ML, Houlston RS. Influence of obesity-related risk factors in the aetiology of glioma. Br J Cancer. 2018 Apr; 118(7):1020-1027.
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  3. Takahashi H, Cornish AJ, Sud A, Law PJ, Kinnersley B, Ostrom QT, Labreche K, Eckel-Passow JE, Armstrong GN, Claus EB, Ll'yasova D, Schildkraut J, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Olson SH, Bernstein JL, Lai RK, Schoemaker MJ, Simon M, Hoffmann P, Nöthen MM, Jöckel KH, Chanock S, Rajaraman P, Johansen C, Jenkins RB, Melin BS, Wrensch MR, Sanson M, Bondy ML, Turnbull C, Houlston RS. Mendelian randomisation study of the relationship between vitamin D and risk of glioma. Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 05; 8(1):2339.
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  4. Jacobs DI, Liu Y, Gabrusiewicz K, Tsavachidis S, Armstrong GN, Zhou R, Wei J, Ivan C, Calin G, Molinaro AM, Rice T, Bracci PM, Hansen HM, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Heimberger AB, Bondy ML. Germline polymorphisms in myeloid-associated genes are not associated with survival in glioma patients. J Neurooncol. 2018 Jan; 136(1):33-39.
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  5. Benz LS, Wrensch MR, Schildkraut JM, Bondy ML, Warren JL, Wiemels JL, Claus EB. Quality of life after surgery for intracranial meningioma. Cancer. 2018 Jan 01; 124(1):161-166.
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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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 09; 11(9):664-673.
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  13. 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 07; 25(7):1043-9.
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  14. 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 08; 98:33-42.
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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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. 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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  18. 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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  19. Walsh KM, Ohgaki H, Wrensch MR. Epidemiology. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016; 134:3-18.
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  20. 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. 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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