New findings show that different brain tumors have the same origin

October 28, 2014

Glioma is a common name for serious brain tumours. Different types of glioma are usually diagnosed as separate diseases and have been considered to arise from different cell types in the brain. Now researchers at Uppsala University, together with American colleagues, have shown that one and the same cell of origin can give rise to different types of glioma. This is important for the basic understanding of how these tumours are formed and can contribute to the development of more efficient and specific glioma therapies. The results have been published in Journal of Neuroscience.

The most common primary, malignant brain tumours in adults, called glioma, are formed from cells in the brain that are not nerve cells. These are serious tumours that lack efficient treatment and relapses are common. There are different types of glioma, classified according to an established system based on which cell type the tumour arises from. The most common gliomas are astrocytoma, which have their name from astrocytes, and oligodendroglioma, which are believed to arise from oligodendrocytes. Patients with astrocytoma have a poorer prognosis than oligodendroglioma patients, and the two tumour types are considered separate clinical diagnoses.

"Since the tumour types look different and have different prognoses it has been assumed that they arise from different cells of origin in the brain, but the fact is that the exact cell of origin has not been determined for any glioma. We have for a long time been interested in finding out more about the origin of gliomas and how it is associated with the genetic alterations that cause the tumour", says Lene Uhrbom, researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, who has led the study.

In collaboration with colleagues in the United States, Lene Uhrbom's research group has studied glioma development in mice. Using tumour models for both astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma, which are very similar to human tumours, they could show that one and the same cell type, called oligodendrocyte precursor cells, could give rise to both tumour forms.

The researchers discovered that it is not the cell of origin but rather the genetic aberrations that control which tumour type is formed. By analysing gene activity in a large number of human astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma they could also conclude that the tumours are more similar to one another than was previously believed. This supports their finding that the glioma diagnoses can have the same origin.

"We saw that the same kind of more differentiated cell of origin, which has previously only been shown to give rise to oligodendroglioma, also can give rise to astrocytoma. New findings such as these increase our understanding of the basic mechanisms that cause glioma", says Lene Uhrbom.
-end-
For more information contact Lene Uhrbom, e-mail: lene.uhrbom@igp.uu.se, tel +46 18 471 5063

More about glioma and the cell of origin for cancer

Glioma is a serious disease that lacks efficient treatment. By learning more about the basic mechanisms that control glioma development and the biology of glioma cells we will improve our chances of finding new, tumour specific strategies for preventing these cells from growing. The cell of origin for cancer contributes to the characteristics of the cancer cells and is the reason for that there are many different cancer forms, e.g breast cancer and prostate cancer, with different biological and clinical features. For most cancers the exact cell of origin is still unknown. This is mainly due to that this is a difficult field to study since human tumours are in a late developmental stage when they are discovered and by then the origin is impossible to determine. This is why relevant mouse models must be used, to be able to control and follow the disease course.

Uppsala University

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.