Authors: Agadha C. Wickremesekera, Helen D. Brasch, Valerie M. Lee, Paul F. Davis, Kelvin Woon, Reuben Johnson, Swee T. Tan and Tinte Itinteang.
Journal of Clinical Neuroscience (2019) Volume 60. Pp112 – 116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2018.10.068
Published research undertaken by the team at the GMRI in collaboration with the Neurosurgery Department of Wellington Hospital has shown that cancer stem cells are present in brain tumours that have developed from the spread of melanomas.
Melanoma tumours spreading to the brain occur in up to 30% of melanoma patients and account for up to 8% of all brain tumours.
Cancer stem cells have been shown to be the drivers of the growth of many cancers, including melanoma. Our research has shown that cancer stem cells are present in these metastatic melanomas. In fact, there appear to be three different subpopulations of cancer stem cells, which may be due to a hierarchy of development and/or to heterogeneity of the tumour.
As the GMRI and collaborators have demonstrated for a number of other cancers, the presence of cancer stem cells may be the basis of the growth of this type of brain tumour. Further characterisation of the properties of the cancer stem cells may provide an opportunity to develop an alternative treatment of this type of cancer.