Glial progenitors as targets for transformation in glioma

Adv Cancer Res. 2014;121:1-65. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800249-0.00001-9.


Glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor and arises throughout the central nervous system. Recent focus on stem-like glioma cells has implicated neural stem cells (NSCs), a minor precursor population restricted to germinal zones, as a potential source of gliomas. In this review, we focus on the relationship between oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), the largest population of cycling glial progenitors in the postnatal brain, and gliomagenesis. OPCs can give rise to gliomas, with signaling pathways associated with NSCs also playing key roles during OPC lineage development. Gliomas can also undergo a switch from progenitor- to stem-like phenotype after therapy, consistent with an OPC-origin even for stem-like gliomas. Future in-depth studies of OPC biology may shed light on the etiology of OPC-derived gliomas and reveal new therapeutic avenues.

Keywords: Brain; Cancer; Glioblastoma; Glioma; Neural stem cell; Oligodendrocyte progenitor cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Lineage / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic* / pathology
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Glioma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neural Stem Cells / pathology
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*