Monoamines in glioblastoma: Complex biology with therapeutic potential

Seamus Patrick Caragher, Robert Raymond Hall, Riasat Ahsan, Atique U. Ahmed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma (GBM) is characterized by extremely poor prognoses, despite the use of gross surgical resection, alkylating chemotherapeutic agents, and radiotherapy. Evidence increasingly highlights the role of the tumor microenvironment in enabling this aggressive phenotype. Despite this interest, the role of neurotransmitters, brain-specific messengers underlying synaptic transmission, remains murky. These signaling molecules influence a complex network of molecular pathways and cellular behaviors in many CNS-resident cells, including neural stem cells and progenitor cells, neurons, and glia cells. Critically, available data convincingly demonstrate that neurotransmitters can influence proliferation, quiescence, and differentiation status of these cells. This ability to affect progenitors and glia-GBM-initiating cells-and their availability in the CNS strongly support the notion that neurotransmitters participate in the onset and progression of GBM. This review will focus on dopamine and serotonin, as studies indicate they contribute to gliomagenesis. Particular attention will be paid to how these neurotransmitters and their receptors can be utilized as novel therapeutic targets. Overall, this review will analyze the complex biology governing the interaction of GBM with neurotransmitter signaling and highlight how this interplay shapes the aggressive nature of GBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1025
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 5 2018


  • glioblastoma
  • glioma initiating cells
  • neurotransmitters
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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