Medulloblastoma is a primary brain tumor found in the cerebellum of children. The tumor occurs in association with two inherited cancer syndromes: Turcot syndrome and Gorlin syndrome. Insights into the molecular biology of the tumor have come from looking at alterations in the genes altered in these syndromes, PTC and APC, respectively. Murine models of medulloblastoma have been constructed based on these alterations. Additional murine models that, while mimicking the appearance of the human tumor, seem unrelated to the human tumor's molecular alterations have been made. In this review, the clinical picture, origin, molecular biology, and murine models of medulloblastoma are discussed. Although a great deal has been discovered about this tumor, the genetic alterations responsible for tumor development in a majority of patients have yet to be described.
Copyright 2004 Neoplasia Press, Inc.