Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 82, Issue 10, pp 656–670

Pathology and molecular genetics of astrocytic gliomas

Guest Editor Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00109-004-0564-x

Cite this article as:
Reifenberger, G. & Collins, V.P. J Mol Med (2004) 82: 656. doi:10.1007/s00109-004-0564-x


Astrocytic gliomas are the most common primary brain tumours. Here we summarize the characteristic neuropathological features of the different types of astrocytic neoplasms according to the World Health Organization classification of tumours of the nervous system. In addition, we report on the present state of the art concerning the molecular genetics of these tumours. Over the past 20 years a number of recurrent chromosomal, genetic and epigenetic alterations have been found to be associated with the different histological types and malignancy grades of astrocytic tumours. However, we are still far from understanding the complex mechanisms that underly tumour initiation and progression in the individual case. Furthermore, the clinical significance of molecular parameters for the diagnostic and prognostic assessment of astrocytic gliomas is still limited. Therefore further investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying oncogenesis and progression of these most common brain tumours is necessary to improve their diagnostic assessment and to devise novel, individually tailored treatment strategies.


Astrocytoma Glioblastoma Pathology Proto-oncogene Tumour suppressor gene 



Carboxyl-terminal modulator protein


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Glial fibrillary acidic protein


Loss of heterozygosity




Platelet-derived growth factor receptor α


Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma


World Health Organization

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeuropathologyHeinrich Heine UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Division of Molecular Histopathology, Addenbrooke’s HospitalUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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