(CNN)A common parasite people get from contaminated water and undercooked meat may be associated with rare brain cancers, researchers reported Monday.
They found evidence that people infected with Toxoplasma gondii, or T. gondii, have a higher risk of developing rare but highly fatal gliomas.
The parasite can sometimes form cysts in the brain and the inflammation associated with these cysts might be responsible, the researchers reported in the International Journal of Cancer.
A team of researchers led by epidemiologist James Hodge, of the American Cancer Society's department of population science, and Anna Coghill, of the department of cancer epidemiology at the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center and Research Institute in Florida, looked at the association between antibodies for T. gondii in blood samples and the risk of glioma in two groups of people.
The study involved 111 individuals enrolled in the American Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort and 646 people listed in the Norwegian Cancer Registry.