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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2008;73:421-6. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2008.73.005. Epub 2008 Nov 6.

Neural and cancer stem cells in tumor suppressor mouse models of malignant astrocytoma.

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Department of Developmental Biology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


Malignant astrocytomas are highly invasive brain tumors that portend poor prognosis and dismal survival. Mouse models that genetically resemble the human malignancy provide insight into the nature and pathogenesis of these cancers. We previously reported tumor suppressor mouse models based on conditional inactivation of human astrocytoma-relevant genes p53, Nf1, and Pten. These mice develop, with full penetrance, varying grades of astrocytic malignancy that recapitulate the human condition histologically and molecularly. Our studies indicate a central role for neural stem cells and stem-cell-like cancer cells in tumor initiation and progression. These mouse models thus represent powerful tools for investigating various aspects of tumor development that otherwise cannot be explored in humans. Further studies will provide a better understanding of the biology of these tumors and will hopefully pave the way for more effective therapeutic approaches for these devastating diseases.

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