Systemic dissemination of glioblastoma: literature review

Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2019 Mar;65(3):460-468. doi: 10.1590/1806-9282.65.3.460. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


Introduction: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent primary malignant tumor from the central nervous system in adults. However, the presence of systemic metastasis is an extremely rare event. The objective of this study was to review the literature, evaluating the possible biological mechanisms related to the occurrence of systemic metastasis in patients diagnosed with GBM.

Results: The mechanisms that may be related to GBM systemic dissemination are the blood-brain barrier breach, often seen in GBM cases, by the tumor itself or by surgical procedures, gaining access to blood and lymphatic vessels, associated with the acquisition of mesenchymal features of invasiveness, resistance to the immune mechanisms of defense and hostile environment through quiescence.

Conclusions: Tumor cells must overcome many obstacles until the development of systemic metastasis. The physiologic mechanisms are not completely clear. Although not fully understood, the pathophysiological understanding of the mechanisms that may be associated with the systemic spread is salutary for a global understanding of the disease. In addition, this knowledge may be used as a basis for a therapy to be performed in patients diagnosed with GBM distant metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / immunology
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Glioblastoma / immunology
  • Glioblastoma / secondary*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Neoplasm Metastasis* / immunology