Cancer Stem Cell Hierarchy in Glioblastoma Multiforme
Authors: Amy Bradshaw, Agadha Wickremsekera, Swee T. Tan, Lifeng Peng, Paul F. Davis and Tinte Itinteang
Frontiers in Surgery – Neurosurgery, Front Surg 2016;3:21
This paper is a review of the current knowledge and understanding of the cause of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain cancer.
GBM is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. It is highly resistant to treatment and is almost universally fatal. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified within this tumour. These cells have unique characteristics, including the ability to continually renew themselves and multiply, and they resist chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They also give rise to another form of stem cells (referred to as progenitor cells) and ultimately cancer cells.
CSCs can be identified by specific markers. As they develop into progenitor cells and then cancer cells there are gradual changes in the expression pattern of these markers. Because the timeline for the expression of some of these markers is not firmly established the relationship and co-expression of the markers needs to be investigated comprehensively. This is compounded further by the presence of multiple GBM subtypes. Consequently, understanding the role and relevance of the various markers and the developmental process from the CSCs to the cancer cell is difficult.
This paper includes an extensive review of eleven of the CSC markers and their roles in the developmental process and how they might be able to be used to better understand the biology of GBM.