Genetic Abnormalities, Clonal Evolution, and Cancer Stem Cells of Brain Tumors

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Brain tumors are highly heterogeneous and have been classified by the World Health Organization in various histological and molecular subtypes. Gliomas have been classified as ranging from low-grade astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas to high-grade astrocytomas or glioblastomas. These tumors are characterized by a peculiar pattern of genetic alterations. Pediatric high-grade gliomas are histologically indistinguishable from adult glioblastomas, but they are considered distinct from adult glioblastomas because they possess a different spectrum of driver mutations (genes encoding histones H3.3 and H3.1). Medulloblastomas, the most frequent pediatric brain tumors, are considered to be of embryonic derivation and are currently subdivided into distinct subgroups depending on histological features and genetic profiling. There is emerging evidence that brain tumors are maintained by a special neural or glial stem cell-like population that self-renews and gives rise to differentiated progeny. In many instances, the prognosis of the majority of brain tumors remains negative and there is hope that the new acquisition of information on the molecular and cellular bases of these tumors will be translated in the development of new, more active treatments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2018


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