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Keywords:

  • cancer stem cells;
  • CD133;
  • digoxin;
  • HIF;
  • hypoxia;
  • glioma;
  • side population

Abstract

Glioblastoma (GBM) prognosis remains dismal, with most patients succumbing to disease within 1 or 2 years of diagnosis. Recent studies have suggested that many solid tumors, including GBM, are maintained by a subset of cells termed cancer stem cells (CSCs). It has been shown that these cells are inherently radio- and chemotherapy resistant, and may be maintained in vivo in a niche characterized by reduced oxygen tension (hypoxia). This review examines the recently described effects of hypoxia on CSC in GBM, and the potential promise in targeting the hypoxic pathway therapeutically.