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Immunotherapy of Brain Cancer


Roth, P; Preusser, M; Weller, M (2016). Immunotherapy of Brain Cancer. Oncology Research and Treatment, 39(6):326-334.

Abstract

The brain has long been considered an immune-privileged site precluding potent immune responses. Nevertheless, because of the failure of conventional anti-cancer treatments to achieve sustained control of intracranial neoplasms, immunotherapy has been considered as a promising strategy for decades. However, several efforts aimed at exploiting the immune system as a therapeutic weapon were largely unsuccessful. The situation only changed with the introduction of the checkpoint inhibitors, which target immune cell receptors that interfere with the activation of immune effector cells. Following the observation of striking effects of drugs that target CTLA-4 or PD-1 against melanoma and other tumor entities, it was recognized that these drugs may also be active against metastatic tumor lesions in the brain. Their therapeutic activity against primary brain tumors is currently being investigated within clinical trials. In parallel, other immunotherapeutics such as peptide vaccines are at an advanced stage of clinical development. Further immunotherapeutic strategies currently under investigation comprise adoptive immune cell transfer as well as inhibitors of metabolic pathways involved in the local immunosuppression frequently found in brain tumors. Thus, the ongoing implementation of immunotherapeutic concepts into clinical routine may represent a powerful addition to the therapeutic arsenal against various brain tumors.

Abstract

The brain has long been considered an immune-privileged site precluding potent immune responses. Nevertheless, because of the failure of conventional anti-cancer treatments to achieve sustained control of intracranial neoplasms, immunotherapy has been considered as a promising strategy for decades. However, several efforts aimed at exploiting the immune system as a therapeutic weapon were largely unsuccessful. The situation only changed with the introduction of the checkpoint inhibitors, which target immune cell receptors that interfere with the activation of immune effector cells. Following the observation of striking effects of drugs that target CTLA-4 or PD-1 against melanoma and other tumor entities, it was recognized that these drugs may also be active against metastatic tumor lesions in the brain. Their therapeutic activity against primary brain tumors is currently being investigated within clinical trials. In parallel, other immunotherapeutics such as peptide vaccines are at an advanced stage of clinical development. Further immunotherapeutic strategies currently under investigation comprise adoptive immune cell transfer as well as inhibitors of metabolic pathways involved in the local immunosuppression frequently found in brain tumors. Thus, the ongoing implementation of immunotherapeutic concepts into clinical routine may represent a powerful addition to the therapeutic arsenal against various brain tumors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:10 Nov 2016 07:41
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 20:35
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:2296-5270
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000446338
PubMed ID:27260656

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