Research ArticleCancer

Hematogenous dissemination of glioblastoma multiforme

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Science Translational Medicine  30 Jul 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 247, pp. 247ra101
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009095

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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive brain tumor in adults. The dogma that GBM spread is restricted to the brain was challenged by reports on extracranial metastases after organ transplantation from GBM donors. We identified circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood (PB) from 29 of 141 (20.6%) GBM patients by immunostaining of enriched mononuclear cells with antibodies directed against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Tumor cell spread was not significantly enhanced by surgical intervention. The tumor nature of GFAP-positive cells was supported by the absence of those cells in healthy volunteers and the presence of tumor-specific aberrations such as EGFR gene amplification and gains and losses in genomic regions of chromosomes 7 and 10. Release of CTCs was associated with EGFR gene amplification, suggesting a growth potential of these cells. We demonstrate that hematogenous GBM spread is an intrinsic feature of GBM biology.

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