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Cancer Sci. 2011 Nov;102(11):1958-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2011.02064.x. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Targeting glioma stem cells: a novel framework for brain tumors.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in stem cell research that focuses on glioma stem cells (GSC) and their mechanisms of action, revealing multiple potential targets for primary malignant brain tumors. Herein, we present a novel framework for considering GSC targets based on direct and indirect strategies. Direct strategies target GSC molecular pathways to overcome their resistance to radiation and chemotherapy, block their function or induce their differentiation. Indirect strategies target the microenvironment of the GSC, namely the perivascular, hypoxic and immune niches. Progress made on GSC targets is reviewed in detail and specific pathways are identified in context of the proposed framework. The potential barriers for translation to the clinical setting are also discussed. Overall, targeting GSC provides an unprecedented opportunity for revolutionary approaches to treat high-grade gliomas that continue to have a poor patient prognosis.

© 2011 Japanese Cancer Association.

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