Glioma stem cells - evidence supporting the cancer stem cell hypothesis for gliomas and technical approaches to investigate glioma stem cells
Nieuwendijk, M. van den
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Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors and especially high grade gliomas have a bad prognosis. Treatment comprises surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but this approach often fails because tumor cells become resistant to therapy and it is extremely difficult to remove all tumor cells. Understanding the cell of origin of gliomas might be the only way to develop more effective treatment strategies. The main hypothesis concerning the glioma cell of origin is that gliomas arise from glioma stem cells, which are capable of self-renewal and generate a heterogeneous tumor containing both stem cells and cells which lack the capacity to self-renew. It remains unclear if neural stem cells give rise to glioma stem cells or whether glioma stem cells derive from committed neural progenitors or from differentiated neurons or astrocytes. The main questions that is discussed in this writing assignment is which recent experimental findings are in line with the hypothesis that gliomas arise from glioma stem cells. Furthermore, the question which in vitro and in vivo techniques can be used to study glioma stem cells will be addressed. Finally, the remaining questions in the field of glioma stem cell research are discussed.