Margaret R. Wrensch MPH, PhD
Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery and Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research
Co-Director, Division of Neuroepidemiology
Dr. Wrensch became a UCSF faculty member in Epidemiology and Biostatistics since 1985 and joined the Department of Neurological Surgery in 2004. She began one of the first large-scale, population-based epidemiologic studies of adult glioma in 1991 and has since served as principal investigator of this continuing NCI-funded R01 grant studying genetic and molecular epidemiology of adult glioma. She has been a Project Co-leader of the Brain Tumor SPORE project “San Francisco Bay Area Adult Glioma Survival Study” since 2002. She is also a Team Leader in the loglio Collective.
In 2009, Dr. Wrensch’s lab completed one of the first genome wide association studies of adult glioma, in which they identified several glioma risk loci. In 2012, they discovered a glioma risk allele that confers a six-fold risk of oligodendroglial tumors and IDH-mutated astrocytomas. In 2015, her research group published another study in collaboration with Dr. Robert Jenkins at 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. In conjunction with Dr. Melissa Bondy and others in the Glioma International Case-Control Consortium, many new additional inherited risk variants for glioma have been discovered. Dr. Wrensch is leading large-scale genome wide association studies of glioma survival.
Dr. Wrensch has also been a co-investigator for other multi-site studies of familial glioma risk, genetic epidemiology of lung cancer, meningioma, and childhood leukemia and breast cancer epidemiology. She is a leader in the brain tumor epidemiology research community, having served as U.S. Co-President of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium and been awarded the Society of Neuro-oncology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Education, Training, and Previous Positions
- 1971: BSc, Ohio State University
1973: MSc, Ohio State University
1977: MPH, University of California, Berkeley
1983: PhD, University of California, Berkeley
1985-1986: Assistant Research Epidemiologist, UCSF
1986-present: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF
1993-1995: Chief, Division of Epidemiology at the Parnassus Campus, UCSF
2001: Interim Head, Cancer Epidemiology Division, UCSF
Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments
- American Association for Cancer Research
Society of Neuro-Oncology
Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium (US co-President 2008-2010)
Selected Honors and Awards
- 1976-1980: Public Health Service trainee
1980-1982: National Cancer Institute trainee
1980-1982: Grossman Endowment recipient
1994: Nominated, Excellence in Small Group Teaching, UCSF
2000: Society of Neuro-oncology/American Brain Tumor Foundation Award for Excellence in Epidemiology, 5th Annual Meeting
2003: Marin Breast Cancer Watch, Community Breast Cancer Research Award
2003: Susan Love MD Breast Cancer Foundation, Otto W. Sartorius, MD Award for Excellence in Research
2005-present: Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research
2016: Society of Neuro-Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award
Selected Recent Publications
Chen LS, Baker T, Hung RJ, et al. 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 Aug
10. pii: S2352-3964(16)30361-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.08.012. [Epub ahead of
print] PubMed PMID: 27543155.
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 Jul 12:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27403598.
Zanetti KA, Wang Z, Aldrich M, et al. 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.
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; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group. Genetic Variation Associated with Longer Telomere Length Increases Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jul;25(7):1043-9.
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;4:153-61.
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;5(6):1352-8.
Walsh KM, Ohgaki H, Wrensch MR. Epidemiology. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;134:3-18.
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.
Amirian ES, Zhou R, Wrensch MR, et al. 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.
Ceccarelli M, Barthel FP, Malta TM, et al. Molecular Profiling Reveals Biologically Discrete Subsets and Pathways of Progression in Diffuse Glioma. Cell. 2016 Jan 28;164(3):550-63.
Molinaro AM, Wrensch MR, Jenkins RB, Eckel-Passow JE. Statistical considerations on prognostic models for glioma. Neuro Oncol. 2016 May;18(5):609-23.
Amirian ES, Armstrong GN, Zhou R, et al. 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. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv235. Epub 2015 Dec 10. PubMed PMID: 26656478; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4706682.
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; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group, 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.
Gonseth S, Roy R, Houseman EA, de Smith AJ, Zhou M, Lee ST, Nusslé S, Singer AW, Wrensch MR, Metayer C, Wiemels JL. Periconceptional folate consumption is associated with neonatal DNA methylation modifications in neural crest regulatory and cancer development genes. Epigenetics. 2015;10(12):1166-76.
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.
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.
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 Nov;17(11):1445-52.
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.
Chen LS, Hung RJ, Baker T, et al. CHRNA5 risk variant predicts delayed smoking cessation and earlier lung cancer diagnosis--a meta-analysis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Apr 14;107(5).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Consortium. 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.
Bainbridge MN, Armstrong GN, Gramatges MM, et al. Germline mutations in shelterin complex genes are associated with familial glioma. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Dec 7;107(1):384.
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;9(10):1360-5.
Wang Z, Zhu B, Zhang M, et al. 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.
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; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group, van der Harst P, Wiencke JK, Samani NJ, Jenkins RB, Wrensch MR. Variants near TERT and TERC influencing telomere length are associated with high-grade glioma risk. Nat Genet. 2014 Jul;46(7):731-5.
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.
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; Gliogene Consortium, Bondy ML, Melin BS. 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.
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. .
Schildkraut JM, Calvocoressi L, Wang F, Wrensch M, Bondy ML, Wiemels JL, Claus EB. Endogenous and exogenous hormone exposure and the risk of meningioma in men. J Neurosurg. 2014 Apr;120(4):820-6.
Lee ST, Bracci P, Zhou M, Rice T, Wiencke J, Wrensch M, Wiemels J. Interaction of allergy history and antibodies to specific varicella-zoster virus proteins on glioma risk. Int J Cancer. 2014 May 1;134(9):2199-210.