, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 1-12
Date: 28 Jan 2011

Glioma-initiating cells and molecular pathology: implications for therapy

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There is now compelling evidence that gliomas harbor a small population of cells, termed glioma-initiating cells (GICs), characterized by their ability to undergo self-renewal and initiate tumorigenesis. The development of therapeutic strategies targeted toward GIC signaling may improve the treatment of malignant gliomas. The characterization of GICs provides a clue to elucidating histological heterogeneity and treatment failure. The role of the stem cell marker CD133 in the initiation and progression of brain tumors is still uncertain. Here, we review some of the signaling mechanisms involved in GIC biology, such as phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), sonic hedgehog, Notch, and WNT signaling pathways, maternal embryonic leucine-zipper kinase (MELK), BMI1, and Janus kinase signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling. In addition, we discuss the role of microRNAs in GICs by focusing on microRNA-21 regulation by type I interferon.

A. Natsume and S. Kinjo contributed equally to the preparation of this review article.