Integrin α7: a major driver and therapeutic target for glioblastoma malignancy
Glioblastomas, or glioblastoma multiforme tumors (GBM), are aggressive high-grade malignant gliomas. They are the most frequent brain tumors in adults, corresponding to 12% to 15% of all intracranial tumors and 50% to 60% of astrocytic tumors (1). GBM are heterogeneous tumors caused by mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) and platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) genes (1). Recent reports support the notion that GBM growth is mediated by stem cells [GBM stem cells (GSCs)] (2-4) that express neural stem cell markers (2) and can differentiate into pericytes and endothelial cells to support tumor vascularization (3,4). Different markers have been described for specific GSC sub-populations (2-4), but no common stem cell marker has been defined yet. Identification of GSC stem cell markers is critical for the development of new therapeutic targets for GBM.