Opera Medica et Physiologica

Glioma: the Mechanisms of Infiltrative Growth

Author Affiliations

Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

Corresponding author: 

Vedrana Montana (vedranam@biotech.uniri.hr)


Malignant gliomas are primary brain tumors considered to be one of the deadliest cancers. Despite surgical intervention followed by aggressive radio- and chemo-therapies, average survival is approximately 15 months of diagnosis. Recurrent tumors resembling all the characteristics of the original tumor mass and growing in close vicinity to the original site are frequent due to presence of a self-renewing population of cells, glioma stem cells. The cells are resistant to therapies and able to invade the surrounding healthy brain tissue. Indeed, infiltrative growth assisted by numerous interactions with microenvironment are hallmarks of glioma growth. Many research efforts are put forward to understand the mechanisms of invasion. Glioma cells adopted numerous biological strategies to their own advantage to viciously propagate and navigate narrow spaces within the brain. Despite enormous amount of data on malignant gliomas generated by –omics approach which broaden our knowledge on glioma physiology in the last decade, parallel success in discovering new therapies did not happen. Thus, new therapeutic approaches may employ healthy cells of the microenvironment to tame malignant growth are necessary. Here, we highlight current knowledge on glioma origin, infiltrative growth, interactions with the microenvironment and potentials for new therapies.