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Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2005 May;5(3):186-97.

Targeted molecular therapy of malignant gliomas.

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Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Malignant gliomas are the most common form of primary brain tumors in adults. Despite advances in diagnosis and standard therapies such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the prognosis remains poor. Recent scientific advances have enhanced our understanding of the biology of gliomas and the role of tyrosine kinase receptors and signal transduction pathways in tumor initiation and maintenance, such as the epidermal growth factor receptors, platelet-derived growth factor receptors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, and the Ras/Raf/mitogen-activated protein (MAP)-kinase and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways. Novel targeted drugs such as small molecular inhibitors of these receptors and signaling pathways are showing some activity in initial studies. As we learn more about these drugs and how to optimize their use as single agents and in combination with radiation, chemotherapy, and other targeted molecular agents, they will likely play an increasing role in the management of this devastating disease. This review summarizes the current results with targeted molecular agents in malignant gliomas and strategies under evaluation to increase their effectiveness.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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