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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 438639, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/438639
Review Article

Adult Neurogenesis and Glial Oncogenesis: When the Process Fails

1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Avenida Dr. Arnaldo 455, LIM 15, 4th Floor, 01246-903 Cerqueira Cesar, SP, Brazil
2Center for Cellular and Molecular Studies and Therapy-NAP-NETCEM, University of São Paulo, Brazil
3Department of Neurosurgery, Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany

Received 16 November 2013; Accepted 29 January 2014; Published 11 March 2014

Academic Editor: Almudena Fuster-Matanzo

Copyright © 2014 Chary Marquez Batista et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Malignant brain tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), are known for their high degree of invasiveness, aggressiveness, and lethality. These tumors are made up of heterogeneous cell populations and only a small part of these cells (known as cancer stem cells) is responsible for the initiation and recurrence of the tumor. The biology of cancer stem cells and their role in brain tumor growth and therapeutic resistance has been extensively investigated. Recent work suggests that glial tumors arise from neural stem cells that undergo a defective process of differentiation. The understanding of this process might permit the development of novel treatment strategies targeting cancer stem cells. In the present review, we address the mechanisms underlying glial tumor formation, paying special attention to cancer stem cells and the role of the microenvironment in preserving them and promoting tumor growth. Recent advancements in cancer stem cell biology, especially regarding tumor initiation and resistance to chemo- or radiotherapy, have led to the development of novel treatment strategies that focus on the niche of the stem cells that make up the tumor. Encouraging results from preclinical studies predict that these findings will be translated into the clinical field in the near future.