Salinomycin's potential to eliminate glioblastoma stem cells and treat glioblastoma multiforme (Review)

Int J Oncol. 2017 Sep;51(3):753-759. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2017.4082. Epub 2017 Jul 27.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadliest form of primary brain tumor. Despite treatment with surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy with the drug temozolomide, the expected survival after diagnosis remains low. The median survival is only 14.6 months and the two-year survival is a mere 30%. One reason for this is the heterogeneity of GBM including the presence of glioblastoma cancer stem cells (GSCs). GSCs are a subset of cells with the unique ability to proliferate, differentiate, and create tumors. GSCs are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and thought to play an important role in recurrence. In order to effectively treat GBM, a drug must be identified that can kill GSCs. The ionophore salinomycin has been shown to kill cancer stem cells and is therefore a promising future treatment for GBM. This study focuses on salinomycin's potential to treat GBM including its ability to reduce the CSC population, its toxicity to normal brain cells, its mechanism of action, and its potential for combination treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Pyrans / therapeutic use*
  • Temozolomide


  • Pyrans
  • salinomycin
  • Dacarbazine
  • Temozolomide