Gliomas pp 110-118 | Cite as

Thoughts on the Biology and Therapy of Malignant Gliomas

  • W. M. Kirsch
  • J. J. van Buskirk
  • D. Schulz
  • K. Tabuchi
Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 51)


Further specifying SZENT-GYORGI’s definition of cancer (1), a malignant glioma can be considered as a tumor mass composed of glial cells manifesting disordered proliferation. We remain ignorant as to what composes and comprises order in either a normal or malignant glial cell. Furthermore, great uncertainty surrounds the molecular mechanisms controlling the growth and replication of malignant glial cells, and whether cell division in normal glia is identical to mitotic events in better studied systems. If true, as WATSON has stated, that ability to effectively treat a disease depends upon our ability to understand the perturbation of molecules underlying the disorder, it is no surprise that the past record of accomplishment with malignant gliomas leaves a great deal to be desired (2). Despite this fundamental lack in basic scientific information, there are certain undeniable signals that real progress is about to be recorded in the management of malignant gliomas using an empirical approach. In a cogent analysis of predictive factors for effective chemotherapy of human cancer, SKIPPER (3) and ZUBROD (4) have shown that two objective parameters serve to herald therapeutic success. These signals, either in humans or experimental animals, consist of an increased incidence of remissions as well as a longer duration of remission. It is most likely that we can expect no dramatic or sudden breakthroughs, but must accept the inevitability of gradual progress in planned, persistent drug testing, armed with a better understanding of both cell kinetics and therapeutic agent scheduling as exemplified by the recent work of TATOR and WASSENAAR (5). Excellent experimental models for cerebral gliomas are now available, and these systems have provided evidence for tumor control, but not cure, with various drug protocols.


Malignant Glioma Glioblastoma Cell Malignant Brain Tumor Cytosine Arabinoside Life Cycle Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Kirsch
  • J. J. van Buskirk
  • D. Schulz
  • K. Tabuchi

There are no affiliations available

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