, Volume 32, Issue 1-2, pp 5-24

What underlies the diversity of brain tumors?

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Abstract

Glioma and medulloblastoma represent the most commonly occurring malignant brain tumors in adults and in children, respectively. Recent genomic and transcriptional approaches present a complex group of diseases and delineate a number of molecular subgroups within tumors that share a common histopathology. Differences in cells of origin, regional niches, developmental timing, and genetic events all contribute to this heterogeneity. In an attempt to recapitulate the diversity of brain tumors, an increasing array of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) has been developed. These models often utilize promoters and genetic drivers from normal brain development and can provide insight into specific cells from which these tumors originate. GEMMs show promise in both developmental biology and developmental therapeutics. This review describes numerous murine brain tumor models in the context of normal brain development and the potential for these animals to impact brain tumor research.