Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The role of brevican in glioma: promoting tumor cell motility in vitro and in vivo

Renquan Lu12, Chengsheng Wu1, Lin Guo2, Yingchao Liu3, Wei Mo1, Huijie Wang4, Jianbo Ding5, Eric T Wong6 and Min Yu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Ministry of Education, Shanghai 200032, China

2 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Neurosurgery, Provincial hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China

4 Department of Clinical Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China

5 Gamma Knife Center, Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China

6 Brain Tumor Center and Neuro-Oncology Unit, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:607  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-607

Published: 19 December 2012



Malignant glioma is a common primary tumor of the central nervous system. Brevican, an abundant extracellular matrix component in the adult brain, plays a critical role in the process of glioma. The mechanisms for the highly invasive behavior of gliomas are still poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine whether brevican is a predictor of glioma and its roles in glioma cell motility.


In this study, immunohistochemistry staining for brevican expression was performed in malignant gliomas and benign controls. We also explored the effects of brevican on cell adhesion and migration in brevican-overexpressed cells. Knockdown of brevican expression was achieved by stable transfection of U251 cells transduced with a construct encoding a short hairpin DNA directed against the brevican gene, which correspondingly, down-regulated the proliferation, invasion and spread of brevican-expressing cells. Moreover, the role of brevican in the growth and progression of glioma was demonstrated by in vivo studies.


Our results provide evidence for the molecular and cellular mechanisms that may underlie the motility-promoting role of brevican in the progression of glioma. The role of brevican as a target for immunotherapy might be taken into consideration in future studies.


This study suggests that expression of brevican is associated with glioma cell adhesion, motility and tumor growth, and also is related to glioma cell differentiation, therefore it may be a marker for malignance degree of glioma

Brevican; Glioma; Astrocytoma; Motility; Tumorigenicity