INTRODUCTION: Despite recent advances in treatment for a number of cancers with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), immunotherapy has had limited efficacy in glioblastoma (GBM). The recent multi-centered CheckMate 143 trial in first time recurrent GBM and the Checkmate 498 trial in newly diagnosed unmethylated GBM showed that antibodies against programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) failed to improve overall survival in patients with GBM. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have explored combining ICB with several other therapies including additional ICB against alternative checkpoint molecules, activation of costimulatory checkpoint molecules such as 4-1BB, radiation-induced tumor cell lysis and immunogenic recruitment, local chemotherapy, neoadjuvant ICB therapy, and myeloid cell reactivation.METHODS: We have reviewed the literature on ICB seminal to the progression of several preclinical studies and clinical trials in order to provide a compendium of the current state of combination immunotherapy for GBM. For ongoing clinical trials without associated publications, we searched clinicaltrials.gov for ongoing studies using the keywords, "GBM" and "glioblastoma", as well as names of checkpoint molecules.RESULTS: Recent trends from clinical trials demonstrate that despite a variety of different combination strategies involving ICB, GBM remains largely elusive to current immunotherapies. There is a discordance of survival outcomes between GBM pre-clinical models and clinical trials, likely due to the heterogeneity of GBM in patients as well as other adaptive immune mechanisms not otherwise represented in murine models. However, in clinical studies, neoadjuvant ICB in GBM was found to diversify the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire and increase chemokine mRNA transcripts when comparing pre- and post- surgical time points. Moreover, an increase in peripheral and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) clonotypes were also observed when comparing adjuvant and neoadjuvant cohorts.DISCUSSION: Despite the lack of clinical survival benefit, immune modulation was observed in multiple different combination strategies for GBM in both preclinical and clinical studies, indicating that ICB combination therapy results in a significant immunological impact on the tumor microenvironment.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11060-020-03481-0
View details for PubMedID 33611705