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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 182985, 11 pages
Review Article

Glioblastoma Circulating Cells: Reality, Trap or Illusion?

1Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, GIGA-Neuroscience, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
2Department of Neurosurgery, CHU and University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
3Department of Neurology, CHU and University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
4GIGA-Development, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

Received 3 March 2015; Accepted 19 April 2015

Academic Editor: Yupo Ma

Copyright © 2015 A. Lombard 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.


Metastases are the hallmark of cancer. This event is in direct relationship with the ability of cancer cells to leave the tumor mass and travel long distances within the bloodstream and/or lymphatic vessels. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most frequent primary brain neoplasm, is mainly characterized by a dismal prognosis. The usual fatal issue for GBM patients is a consequence of local recurrence that is observed most of the time without any distant metastases. However, it has recently been documented that GBM cells could be isolated from the bloodstream in several studies. This observation raises the question of the possible involvement of glioblastoma-circulating cells in GBM deadly recurrence by a “homing metastasis” process. Therefore, we think it is important to review the already known molecular mechanisms underlying circulating tumor cells (CTC) specific properties, emphasizing their epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) abilities and their possible involvement in tumor initiation. The idea is here to review these mechanisms and speculate on how relevant they could be applied in the forthcoming battles against GBM.