The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Per Øyvind Enger

Cancer stem cells and tumor-stroma interactions in brain tumor progression

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Per Øyvind Enger
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

Glioblastoma Multiforme is the most malignant subtype amongst glial brain tumors (gliomas). Despite multi-modal treatment involving surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, median survival is approx. 12 months, with virtually no long-term survivors. The tumors are genetically heterogeneous with no unifying signature. However, invasive growth and formation of new vessels (angiogenesis) are characteristic features, involving extensive tumor-stroma interactions. Moreover, several recent studies suggest that these tumors develop from a small subpopulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs).

We have used animal models to identify signaling pathways that regulate the growth of these tumors, as well as CSC populations. Our findings demonstrate that brain tumors can adapt highly invasive non-angiogenic growth patterns which are associated with reactivation of developmental signaling pathways. However, our findings do not support the presence of a small subpopulation of CSCs, defined by a single-cell surface marker, as reported by others.

Chair: Rolf Bjerkvig<rolf.bjerkvig@biomed.uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine