Brain Tumor Pathology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Glioma-initiating cells and molecular pathology: implications for therapy

  • Atsushi Natsume
  • Sayano Kinjo
  • Kanako Yuki
  • Takenori Kato
  • Masasuke Ohno
  • Kazuya Motomura
  • Kenichiro Iwami
  • Toshihiko Wakabayashi
Review Article


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.


Glioma-initiating cells CD133 Molecular pathways STAT3 MicroRNAs 


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Copyright information

© The Japan Society of Brain Tumor Pathology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsushi Natsume
    • 1
  • Sayano Kinjo
    • 1
  • Kanako Yuki
    • 1
  • Takenori Kato
    • 1
  • Masasuke Ohno
    • 1
  • Kazuya Motomura
    • 1
  • Kenichiro Iwami
    • 1
  • Toshihiko Wakabayashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryNagoya University School of MedicineNagoyaJapan

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