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Cancer Cell. 2007 Oct;12(4):295-7.

Bmi1 and cell of origin determinants of brain tumor phenotype.

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  • 1Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada.


Glioblastomas frequently express oncogenic EGFR and loss of the Ink4a/Arf locus. Bmi1, a positive regulator of stem cell self renewal, may be critical to drive brain tumor growth. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Bruggeman and colleagues suggest that brain tumors with these molecular alterations can be initiated in both neural precursor and differentiated cell compartments in the absence of Bmi1; however, tumorigenicity is reduced, and tumors contain fewer precursor cells. Surprisingly, tumors appear less malignant when initiated in precursor cells. Bmi1-deficient tumors also had fewer neuronal lineage cells, suggesting a role for Bmi1 in determination of cell lineage and tumor phenotype.

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