Neural Stem Cells: Implications for the Conventional Radiotherapy of Central Nervous System Malignancies

Igor J. Barani, Stanley H Benedict, Peck Sun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Advances in basic neuroscience related to neural stem cells and their malignant counterparts are challenging traditional models of central nervous system tumorigenesis and intrinsic brain repair. Neurogenesis persists into adulthood predominantly in two neurogenic centers: subventricular zone and subgranular zone. Subventricular zone is situated adjacent to lateral ventricles and subgranular zone is confined to the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Neural stem cells not only self-renew and differentiate along multiple lineages in these regions, but also contribute to intrinsic brain plasticity and repair. Ionizing radiation can depopulate these exquisitely sensitive regions directly or impair in situ neurogenesis by indirect, dose-dependent and inflammation-mediated mechanisms, even at doses <2 Gy. This review discusses the fundamental neural stem cell concepts within the framework of cumulative clinical experience with the treatment of central nervous system malignancies using conventional radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Central nervous system malignancies
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurocognitive sequelae
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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