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Astrocyte Differentiation States and Glioma Formation

Dai, Chengkai MS; Holland, Eric C. MD, PhD


Gliomas are the most common primary malignancy in human central nervous system. Many similarities in cell morphology and expression of markers exist between cancerous cells and normal undifferentiated progenitor cells. At the molecular level, many important gene products are causally implicated in both the glial differentiation process and glial neoplasm formation. These observations raise the question of to what degree cell differentiation state influences glioma formation. In this review, we discuss new insights into the parallels between glial differentiation and glioma formation as well as the potential application of differentiation-inducing therapy.

Departments of Cell Biology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Reprint requests: Eric C. Holland, Department of Cell Biology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 430 East 67th Street, RRL Rm. 917B, New York, NY 10021. E-mail:

No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

Received on November 28, 2002; accepted for publication January 28, 2003.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.