Oncology Central

Wnt signaling and astrocytic brain tumors

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In modern high-income societies, the battles are fought within cells. Human cancer cell is a modern day battlefield and so is the transformed astrocyte. Following this line of thought, the knowledge on cellular signaling pathways and their altered behavior in tumor cells is an important step forward in understanding astrocytic brain tumor etiology. Astrocytic brain tumors are the most common primary CNS neoplasms and are classified according to their lineage of origin and behavior into four WHO grades. However, despite many recent advances [1], the molecular blueprint of development and progression of astrocytic brain tumors is still largely unexplained. Astrocytes, the specialized glial cells that fivefold outnumber neurons, play a major role in the evolution of primary brain tumors [2]. Although the cells of origin of astrocytic gliomas are still unknown and under intense investigation [3], what is known is that astrocytomas exhibit great molecular heterogeneity. Histological research established that glioblastoma in particular is extremely heterogeneous demonstrating both intertumor and intratumor heterogeneity [4].

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