Table of Contents
Journal of Signal Transduction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 902854, 14 pages
Review Article

The Role of Semaphorins and Their Receptors in Gliomas

Neurobiology/Ageing Programme, Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Centre for Life Sciences, 28 Medical Drive, Singapore 117456

Received 22 February 2012; Accepted 6 August 2012

Academic Editor: Bertrand Jean-Claude

Copyright © 2012 Janice Wai Sze Law and Alan Yiu Wah Lee. 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.


Gliomas are the most common tumor in the central nervous system. High-grade glioblastomas are characterized by their high invasiveness and resistance to radiotherapy, leading to high recurrence rate and short median survival despite radical surgical resection. Characterizations of gliomas at molecular level have revealed aberrations of various growth factor receptors, receptor tyrosine kinases, and tumor suppressor genes that lead to deregulation of multiple signaling pathways, thereby contributing to abnormal proliferation, invasion, and resistance to apoptosis in cancer cells. Recently, accumulating evidence points to the emerging role of axon guidance molecules in glioma progression. Notably, many signaling events harnessed by guidance molecules to regulate cell migration and axon navigation during development are also found to be involved in the modulation of deregulated pathways in gliomas. This paper focused on the signalings triggered by the guidance molecule semaphorins and their receptors plexins and neuropilins, and how their crosstalk with oncogenic pathways in gliomas might modulate cancer progression. The emerging role of semaphorins and plexins as tumor suppressors or oncogenes is also discussed.