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New research indicates that glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)—the most common and aggressive adult primary brain tumor—may become resistant to treatment due to interactions with its microenvironment (Quail DF et al. Science. 2016;352:aad3018). By identifying the mechanisms involved, a team led by investigators at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has identified potential new targets for treating recurrent tumors.
Previous studies have shown that macrophages that express high levels of colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) accumulate in GBM tumors, and blocking the CSF-1 receptor leads to tumor regression in animal models of this cancer. Cancer drugs targeting CSF-1 are currently in clinical trials in various settings, but this latest research shows that most GBM tumors in mice ultimately develop resistance to this treatment strategy.
Hampton T. Tumor Environment Contributes to Brain Tumor Resistance. JAMA. 2016;316(1):23. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8448