Glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor, exhibits a poor prognosis with little therapeutic progress in the last decade. Novel treatment strategies beyond the established standard of care with temozolomide-based radiotherapy are urgently needed.
We reviewed the literature on glioblastoma with a focus on phase III trials for pharmacotherapies and/or innovative concepts until December 2015.
In the last decade, phase III trials on novel compounds largely failed to introduce efficacious pharmacotherapies beyond temozolomide in glioblastoma. So far, inhibition of angiogenesis by compounds such as bevacizumab, cediranib, enzastaurin or cilengitide as well as alternative dosing schedules of temozolomide did not prolong survival, neither at primary diagnosis nor at recurrent disease. Promising strategies of pharmacotherapy currently under evaluation represent targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with biomarker-stratified patient populations and immunotherapeutic concepts including checkpoint inhibition and vaccination. The clinical role of the medical device delivering 'tumor-treating fields' in newly diagnosed glioblastoma which prolonged overall survival in a phase III study has remained controversial. After failure of several phase III trials with previously promising agents, improvement of concepts and novel compounds are urgently needed to expand the still limited therapeutic options for the treatment of glioblastoma.