Malignant gliomas represent one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. Recent advances in the understanding of the deregulated molecular pathways of gliomas have brought about targeted therapies that have the ability to increase therapeutic efficacy in tumors while decreasing toxicity. Multi-targeted kinase inhibitors, novel monoclonal antibodies, and new vaccines have been developed. Standard treatments and current development of new therapies for malignant gliomas are reviewed, focusing specifically on growth factors and their receptors (e.g. epidermal growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor), as well as the intracellular effector molecules that are downstream of these growth factors (e.g. RasRafmitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinaseAKTmammalian target of rapamycin, and protein kinase C). The efficacies of other novel targeted inhibitors such as deacetylase inhibitors and heat shock protein 90 inhibitors in the treatment of gliomas are also discussed, as well as new combination therapies. In order for new agents to increase treatment efficacy, new targets need to be developed, drug delivery efficiency needs to be improved, and new biomarkers need to be discovered. All of these goals can be accomplished with time through innovative experimental designs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute (R01-CA122930), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (K08-NS046430), the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Young Investigator Award, and the American Cancer Society (RSG-07-276-01-MGO). Dr Maciej Lesniak has received grants from the National Institutes of Health.