The Microenvironmental Landscape of Brain Tumors

Cancer Cell. 2017 Mar 13;31(3):326-341. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2017.02.009.


The brain tumor microenvironment (TME) is emerging as a critical regulator of cancer progression in primary and metastatic brain malignancies. The unique properties of this organ require a specific framework for designing TME-targeted interventions. Here, we discuss a number of these distinct features, including brain-resident cell types, the blood-brain barrier, and various aspects of the immune-suppressive environment. We also highlight recent advances in therapeutically targeting the brain TME in cancer. By developing a comprehensive understanding of the complex and interconnected microenvironmental landscape of brain malignancies we will greatly expand the range of therapeutic strategies available to target these deadly diseases.

Keywords: blood-brain barrier; brain metastasis; brain tumor microenvironment; glioma; immunotherapy; tumor-associated macrophage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Microglia / physiology
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tumor Microenvironment*
  • Wound Healing