Brain tumors are becoming a major cause of death. The classification of brain tumors has gone through restructuring with regard to some criteria such as the presence or absence of a specific genetic alteration in the 2016 central nervous system World Health Organization update. Two categories of genes with a leading role in tumorigenesis and cancer induction include tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes; tumor suppressor genes are inactivated through a variety of mechanisms that result in their loss of function. As for the oncogenes, overexpression and amplification are the most common mechanisms of alteration. Important cell cycle genes such as p53, ATM, cyclin D2, and Rb have shown altered expression patterns in different brain tumors such as meningioma and astrocytoma. Some genes in signaling pathways have a role in brain tumorigenesis. These pathways include hedgehog, EGFR, Notch, hippo, MAPK, PI3K/Akt, and WNT signaling. It has been shown that telomere length in some brain tumor samples is shortened compared to that in normal cells. As the shortening of telomere length triggers chromosome instability early in brain tumors, it could lead to initiation of cancer. On the other hand, telomerase activity was positive in some brain tumors. It is suggestive that telomere length and telomerase activity are important diagnostic markers in brain tumors. This review focuses on brain tumors with regard to the status of oncogenes, tumor suppressors, cell cycle genes, and genes in signaling pathways as well as the role of telomere length and telomerase in brain tumors.
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology – Springer Journals
Published: May 10, 2017
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