Despite advances in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, malignant gliomas are still highly lethal tumors. Traditional treatments that rely on nonspecific, cytotoxic approaches have a marginal impact on patient survival.
However, recent advances in the molecular cancer biology underlying glioma pathogenesis have revealed that abnormalities in common cell surface receptors, including receptor tyrosine kinase and other cytokines, mediate the abnormal cellular signal pathways and aggressive biological behavior among the majority of these tumors.
Some cell surface receptors have been targeted by novel agents in preclinical and clinical development. Such cancer-specific targeted agents might offer the promise of improved cancer control without substantial toxicity.
Here, we review these common cell surface receptors with clinical significance for malignant glioma and discuss the molecular characteristics, pathological significance, and potential therapeutic application of these cell surface receptors.
We also summarize the clinical trials of drugs targeting these cell surface receptors in malignant glioma patients.