Molecular pathology of malignant gliomas

Annu Rev Pathol. 2006;1:97-117. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pathol.1.110304.100043.


Malignant gliomas, the most common type of primary brain tumor, are a spectrum of tumors of varying differentiation and malignancy grades. These tumors may arise from neural stem cells and appear to contain tumor stem cells. Early genetic events differ between astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumors, but all tumors have an initially invasive phenotype, which complicates therapy. Progression-associated genetic alterations are common to different tumor types, targeting growth-promoting and cell cycle control pathways and resulting in focal hypoxia, necrosis, and angiogenesis. Knowledge of malignant glioma genetics has already impacted clinical management of these tumors, and researchers hope that further knowledge of the molecular pathology of malignant gliomas will result in novel therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Biology / methods*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oligodendroglioma / genetics
  • Oligodendroglioma / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor