Glioblastoma multiforme: Pathogenesis and treatment

Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Aug;152:63-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2015.05.005. Epub 2015 May 2.


Each year, about 5-6 cases out of 100,000 people are diagnosed with primary malignant brain tumors, of which about 80% are malignant gliomas (MGs). Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) accounts for more than half of MG cases. They are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Despite current multimodality treatment efforts including maximal surgical resection if feasible, followed by a combination of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, the median survival is short: only about 15months. A deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of these tumors has presented opportunities for newer therapies to evolve and an expectation of better control of this disease. Lately, efforts have been made to investigate tumor resistance, which results from complex alternate signaling pathways, the existence of glioma stem-cells, the influence of the blood-brain barrier as well as the expression of 0(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase. In this paper, we review up-to-date information on MGs treatment including current approaches, novel drug-delivering strategies, molecular targeted agents and immunomodulative treatments, and discuss future treatment perspectives.

Keywords: Glioblastoma; Pharmacology; Review; Stem cell; Targeted therapy; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Genetic Therapy* / methods
  • Glioblastoma / diagnosis
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Stem Cell Transplantation* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome