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Cancer Res. 2001 May 1;61(9):3556-60.

A genetically tractable model of human glioma formation.

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Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Gliomas remain one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Improved therapeutics will require a better understanding of the molecular nature of these tumors. We, therefore, mimicked the most common genetic changes found in grade III-IV gliomas, disruption of the p53 and RB pathways and activation of telomere maintenance and independence from growth factors, through the ectopic expression of the SV40 T/t-Ag oncogene, an oncogenic form of H-ras (H-ras(V12G)), and the human telomerase catalytic subunit hTERT in normal human astrocytes. The resulting cells displayed many of the hallmarks of grade III-IV gliomas, including greatly expanded life span and growth in soft agar and, most importantly, were tumorigenic with pathology consistent with grade III-IV neuroectodermal tumors in mice. This model system will, for the first time, allow the biological significance of selected genetic alterations to be studied in human gliomas.

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