Abstract: Gliomas are the most malignant and aggressive form of brain tumors, and account for the majority of brain cancer related deaths. Malignant gliomas, including glioblastoma are treated with radiation and temozolomide, with only a minor benefit in survival time. A number of advances have been made in understanding glioma biology, including the discovery of cancer stem cells, termed glioma stem cells (GSC). Some of these advances include the delineation of molecular heterogeneity both between tumors from different patients as well as within tumors from the same patient. Such research highlights the importance of identifying and validating molecular markers in glioma. This review, intended as a practical resource for both clinical and basic investigators, summarizes some of the more well-known molecular markers (MGMT, 1p/19q, IDH, EGFR, p53, PI3K, Rb, and RAF), discusses how they are identified, and what, if any, clinical relevance they may have, in addition to discussing some of the specific biology for these markers. Additionally, we discuss identification methods for studying putative GSC's (CD133, CD15, A2B5, nestin, ALDH1, proteasome activity, ABC transporters, and label-retention). While much research has been done on these markers, there is still a significant amount that we do not yet understand, which may account for some conflicting reports in the literature. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the investigator will be able to utilize one single marker to prospectively identify and isolate GSC from all, or possibly, any gliomas.
Keywords: Glioblastoma; Glioma stem cell; Molecular markers; Mutations; Pathways