Medulloblastoma stem cells: modeling tumor heterogeneity

Cancer Lett. 2013 Sep 10;338(1):23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.07.010. Epub 2012 Jul 14.


Brain tumors represent the leading cause of childhood cancer mortality, with medulloblastoma (MB) being the most frequent malignant tumor. In this review we discuss the morphological and molecular heterogeneity of this malignant childhood brain tumor and how this key feature has implicated the presence of a MB stem cell. We focus on evidence from cerebellar development, histopathological and molecular subtypes of MB, the recent identification of brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs, also referred to as MB stem cells), and the current limitations in studying the interplay between MB stem cells and tumor heterogeneity.

Keywords: Brain-tumor initiating cells; Cancer stem cell; Medulloblastoma; Signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Child
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics