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Medulloblastoma cancer stem cells: molecular signatures and therapeutic targets

Abstract

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant primary intracranial neoplasm diagnosed in childhood. Although numerous efforts have been made during the past few years to exploit novel targeted therapies for this aggressive neoplasm, there still exist substantial hitches hindering successful management of MB. Lately, progress in cancer biology has shown evidence that a subpopulation of cells within the tumour, namely cancer stem cells (CSCs), are thought to be responsible for the resistance to most chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy, accounting for cancer recurrence. Hence, it is crucial to identify the molecular signatures and genetic aberrations that characterise those CSCs and develop therapies that specifically target them. In this review, we aim to give an overview of the main genetic and molecular cues that depict MB-CSCs and provide a synopsis of the novel therapeutic approaches that specifically target this population of cells to attain enhanced antitumorous effects and therefore overcome resistance to therapy.

  • molecular pathology
  • molecular oncology
  • brain tumours
  • genetics
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