During embryonic development, radial glial precursor cells give rise to neural lineages, and a small proportion persist in the adult mammalian brain to contribute to long-term neuroplasticity. Neural stem cells (NSCs) reside in two neurogenic niches of the adult brain, the hippocampus and the subventricular zone (SVZ). NSCs in the SVZ are endowed with the defining stem cell properties of self-renewal and multipotent differentiation, which are maintained by intrinsic cellular programs, and extrinsic cellular and niche-specific interactions. In glioblastoma, the most aggressive primary malignant brain cancer, a subpopulation of cells termed glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) exhibit similar stem-like properties. While there is an extensive overlap between NSCs and GSCs in function, distinct genetic profiles, transcriptional programs, and external environmental cues influence their divergent behavior. This review highlights the similarities and differences between GSCs and SVZ NSCs in terms of their gene expression, regulatory molecular pathways, niche organization, metabolic programs, and current therapies designed to exploit these differences.