Role of the Neurogenic Niche in the Malignancy of Glioblastoma

Dr. Guerrero Cazares' lab studies the interaction of brain tumors and components of the neurogenic niche. Research is focused on evaluating the roles that cerebrospinal fluid and its components and subventricular zone cells play in the malignancy of human brain tumors.

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common, aggressive and proliferative primary brain tumor in adults, despite therapeutic strategies that combine surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Glioblastoma's high invasive capacity makes total surgical resection virtually impossible, resulting in an extremely high recurrence rate.

The ability to form new tumors resides in a subpopulation of glioblastoma cells called brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs). BTICs are undifferentiated cells with self-renewing and pluripotential capacity, similar to neural stem cells but with the added ability of forming tumors in vivo.

Dr. Guerrero Cazares and others have reported that among primary glioblastomas, those that are located in close proximity to the lateral ventricles (LV) present multiple factors — including increased recurrence at distant locations — that negatively affect patients' survival.

Scientists don't know why the factors related to LV-proximal tumors arise or why they cause worse outcomes for patients. Possible explanations may involve the closeness of LV-proximal tumors to the cerebrospinal fluid and the neurogenic niche in the subventricular zone. The results from the lab's research on the neurogenic niche will provide invaluable knowledge about the mechanisms involved in the invasion and guidance of brain tumor cells.

Project team

Lab members and collaborators studying the role of LV-proximal tumors and the neurogenic niche in glioblastoma include: