Brain tumors are among the most aggressive and intractable types of cancer. Recent studies indicate that brain tumor cells resemble neural stem cells in terms of phenotype, signaling, and behavior in vitro. In light of these similarities, it has been suggested that brain tumors arise from stem cells, that they co-opt stem cell strategies for self-renewal, and even that they contain "cancer stem cells" that are critical for tumor maintenance. We will examine these possibilities and discuss their implications for the understanding and treatment of brain tumors.
Copyright 2004 Cell Press