Overview and recent advances in the targeting of medulloblastoma cancer stem cells

Megan Rose Paul, Peter E. Zage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Medulloblastoma, an embryonal small round blue cell tumor primarily arising in the posterior fossa, is the most common malignancy of the central nervous system in children and requires intensive multi-modality therapy for cure. Overall 5-year survival is approximately 75% in children with primary disease, but outcomes for relapsed disease are very poor. Recent advances have identified molecular subgroups with excellent prognosis, with 5-year overall survival rates >90%, and subgroups with very poor prognosis with overall survival rates <50%. Molecular subtyping has allowed for more sophisticated risk stratification of patients, but new treatments for the highest risk patients have not yet improved outcomes. Targeting cancer stem cells may improve outcomes, and several candidate targets and novel drugs are under investigation. Areas covered: We discuss medulloblastoma epidemiology, biology, treatment modalities, risk stratification, and molecular subgroup analysis, links between subgroup and developmental biology, cancer stem cell biology in medulloblastoma including previously described cancer stem cell markers and proposed targeted treatments in the current literature. Expert opinion: The understanding of cancer stem cells in medulloblastoma will advance therapies targeting the most treatment-resistant cells within the tumor and therefore reduce the incidence of treatment refractory and relapsed disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-974
Number of pages18
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • Medulloblastoma
  • cancer stem cells
  • cd114
  • cd133
  • cd15
  • olig2
  • pediatric oncology
  • personalized medicine
  • sox2
  • targeted therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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