Posted by: Dan | October 9, 2007

Where Brain Cancer Hides

Six months ago, I chatted about maintaining germinal niches in the adult brain, focusing on the protected spots near oxygen-rich blood vessels where neural progenitors reside, from which fresh neurons are born to replenish the neurocircuitry in adults.

Well it just so happens that one of the prominent types of brain cancer, called glioblastomas, have a lot in common with neural progenitor cells. Glioblastomas, or GBM for short, have been receiving a lot of attention in the past few years on the topic of cancer stem-like cells for their capacity for self-renewal.

So it came as no surprise when I saw the review in Nature Reviews Cancer titled Making a tumour’s bed: glioblastoma stem cells and the vascular niche. In this review, Gilbertson and Rich address two issues that caught my attention – one old, one new. First, as I’ve noted before, the logical therapeutic strategy for confronting stem-like cancer cells is to take the ‘stemness’ out of them. But secondly, they bring angiogenesis into discussion of GBM and vascular niches.

I should’ve seen that coming though, but I plead the fact that I don’t normally follow the angiogenesis cell biology literature. It makes sense, because you would expect that any cancer that preferentially thrives in vascular sites would quickly acquire the ability to modulate those vascular sites, AKA produce angiogenic factors.

  • Gilbertson RJ, Rich JN. Making a tumour’s bed: glioblastoma stem cells and the vascular niche. Nature Reviews Cancer 7, 733-736 (October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrc2246

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