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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Notch signaling in glioblastoma: a developmental drug target?

Maria Maddalena Lino1, Adrian Merlo1* and Jean-Louis Boulay12

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland

2 Laboratory of Brain Tumor Biology, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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BMC Medicine 2010, 8:72  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-72

Published: 15 November 2010

Abstract

Malignant gliomas are among the most devastating tumors for which conventional therapies have not significantly improved patient outcome. Despite advances in imaging, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, survival is still less than 2 years from diagnosis and more targeted therapies are urgently needed. Notch signaling is central to the normal and neoplastic development of the central nervous system, playing important roles in proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and cancer stem cell regulation. Notch is also involved in the regulation response to hypoxia and angiogenesis, which are typical tumor and more specifically glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) features. Targeting Notch signaling is therefore a promising strategy for developing future therapies for the treatment of GBM. In this review we give an overview of the mechanisms of Notch signaling, its networking pathways in gliomas, and discuss its potential for designing novel therapeutic approaches.