Space Invaders: Brain Tumor Exploitation of the Stem Cell Niche

Am J Pathol. 2018 Jan;188(1):29-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2017.08.029. Epub 2017 Oct 10.


Increasing evidence indicates that the adult neurogenic niche of the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ), beyond serving as a potential site of origin, affects the outcome of malignant brain cancers. Glioma contact with this niche predicts worse prognosis, suggesting a supportive role for the V-SVZ environment in tumor initiation or progression. In this review, we describe unique components of the V-SVZ that may permit or promote tumor growth within the region. Cell-cell interactions, soluble factors, and extracellular matrix composition are discussed, and the role of the niche in future therapies is explored. The purpose of this review is to highlight niche intrinsic factors that may promote or support malignant cell growth and maintenance, and point out how we might leverage these features to improve patient outcome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*