A review of glioblastoma immunotherapy

Ravi Medikonda, Gavin Dunn, Maryam Rahman, Peter Fecci, Michael Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Glioblastoma is a very aggressive cancer with dismal prognosis despite standard of care including surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. There is interest in applying immunotherapy to glioblastoma as this modality has demonstrated remarkable improvements in the management of several solid tumors including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and non-small cell lung cancer. This review aims to provide an overview of the current state of glioblastoma immunotherapy. Methods: Literature search was performed on PubMed between 1961 and 2020. Results: Initial clinical trials of checkpoint inhibitors and vaccine therapy for glioblastoma have largely been disappointing for both primary and recurrent glioblastoma. This failure has been attributed to glioblastoma’s highly immunosuppressive environment and multiple mechanisms of therapy resistance including high tumor heterogeneity, low mutational burden, systemic immunosuppression, and local immune dysfunction. Conclusions: Current clinical trials are exploring combination therapy and novel treatment strategies beyond immune checkpoint therapies and vaccine therapy such as CAR T cells. There is also an effort to establish synergy between immunotherapy and current standard of care. Furthermore, recent advances in personalized neoantigen vaccines suggest a shift towards personalized, patient-specific GBM treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • GBM Immunotherapy
  • Glioblastoma
  • Immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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