Some patients develop the brain tumor after exposure to vinyl chloride. Manufacturers use vinyl chloride to produce polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry describes vinyl chloride as having a sweet smell. People exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation directed at the brain, the type of radiation used in radiation therapy, may develop an astrocytoma brain tumor.
It also can result from changes in chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which contain DNA. Alterations in the number of chromosomes or to the actual chromosome can result in problems. People with certain conditions that run in the family have a higher occurrence of astrocytoma brain tumor, suggesting a hereditary link.