Picture of glioma stem cells has become a Notch brighter
Solid tumors often behave like an organ system, comprised of rapidly proliferating cancer cells and a variety of stromal components, including endothelial cells (ECs), fibroblasts, and immune cells. Similar to an organ system, all tumors, including malignant gliomas, also contain a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) with adult stem cell-like characteristics, namely, pluripotency and capacity for self-renewal. CSCs are quiescent and have low immunogenicity—features that help them evade destruction by chemotherapy and immunotherapy, respectively. Identification of novel molecular cues that regulate maintenance (self-renewal) of CSCs could help develop new therapeutic interventions for complete eradication of cancer and avoid recurrence.