Brain tumors pose a significant therapeutic challenge. This is especially true of
glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most malignant type of brain tumor, which accounts
for one-third of all brain tumors. The prognosis of patients diagnosed with GBM is grim.
Most die within one year and even the most intricate combinations of therapies generally
fail (1,2). This conundrum is compounded by the fact that malignant glioma cells are
extremely resistant to apoptosis so that chemotherapy alone has not been a sufficiently
effective treatment. Because gliomas generally localize within the central nervous system,
local treatment strategies have traditionally been utilized. The standard treatment
approach of surgical removal followed by external beam irradiation has often led to
delayed progression and prolonged survival (3). Unfortunately, tumor recidivism followed
by unstoppable progression is the rule. Despite the explosive growth of knowledge in the
field of cancer biology and extraordinary improvements in the treatment of many common
human cancers, therapies for malignant glioma have improved little during the past several
decades (4). Today’s challenge is to develop more rational and efficacious therapies to
target the specific genetic anomalies of brain tumors.