Approximately half of tumors encountered in the brain represent metastases from neoplasms located elsewhere in the body. A large part of the other half represents meningiomas arising from the membranes covering the brain. The remaining group consists of so-called primary brain tumors, which are tumors arising from the cellular components of brain tissue itself. Most of these tumors are called gliomas because they putatively arise from glial cells. Gliomas are the most frequently encountered subtypes of primary brain tumors. Glial tumor cells still display signs of glial differentiation to some extent [1]. Relative to the major cancers affecting humans like lung-, breast -, colonic - and prostate cancer, glial neoplasms are only a minority. The morbidity and mortality of this group is, however, highest of all. Hence, the impact of these tumors on the well-being of the patients and the economic consequences thereof warrants research efforts comparable to those undertaken in the major cancer groups. In several respects gliomas differ from other tumors. They hardly ever metastasize. Further, neoplastic glial cells infiltrate brain tissue diffusely by mechanisms of migration. Because of the diffuse infiltrative character there are no clear-cut tumor borders and therefore, radical surgery is never possible. Another peculiarity of gliomas is their continuous metamorphosis: over time the tumors change their histological appearance. This goes along with increasing genetic instability. The tumors become more cellular; the cells more pleomorphic and finally necrotic areas appear. The metamorphosis goes along with an increase in blood vessels and a change in the structure of the blood vessel walls. Although gliomas are among the most vascularized tumors, it is surprising that anti-angiogenesis therapies have been relatively unsuccessful so far. To improve this situation it is necessary to increase the specificity of the therapeutic targets in the glioma vascularization.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Mustafa, D. (2009, November 10). Identifying Proteins Involved in Glioma Angiogenesis: a Proteomics Approach. Retrieved from