Can One Cell Influence Cancer Heterogeneity?

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Science  23 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6110, pp. 1035-1036
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231594

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Gliomas are the most common form of malignant brain tumor in adults and have generally poor clinical outcomes. Patients with the most aggressive form of glioma, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), have a low 5-year survival rate (1). Progress has been made in characterizing the genetic lesions and cells of origin in GBM, both of which may contribute to disease pathogenesis. On page 1080 in this issue, Friedmann-Morvinski et al. (2) show that differentiated neuronal cells and glial cells in the mouse brain can revert to less mature states upon acquiring these genetic lesions. Thus, multiple different cell types in the central nervous system, and not just neural stem cells, can be transformed into GBM in an animal model that recapitulates important aspects of the human disease.