Heterogeneity of cancer-Initiating cells within glioblastoma

Elena Binda, Alberto Visioli, Brent Reynolds, Angelo Vescovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Malignant gliomas, particularly glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), account for the majority of brain tumors. Their incidence is increasing world wide and they are incurable. Although a transient response to therapy is observed, tumor recurrence is inevitable and occurs within tissue that has received cytotoxic therapy. This suggests that a subpopulation of resistant cells is responsible for tumor regrowth. The treatment of GBMs represents a daunting challenge to clinicians due principally to the lack of effective therapeutic options. One explanation for this is the marked cellular and genetic heterogeneity within and across these types of tumors. Unravelling the cellular composition of gliomas and describing cell lineage relationships are essential for therapeutic breakthroughs. The recent proposal that a small percentage of cells with stem cells characteristics are responsible for tumor initiation and growth has sparked an interest in applying approaches used to study somatic stem cells toward an understanding of the cellular elements responsible for cancer progression and recurrence. To outline the relevance of these findings is the purpose of this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1248
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Scholar
Volume4 S
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012


  • Brain tumors
  • Cancer stem-like tumor initiating cells
  • Cancer therapy
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Molecular markers
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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