Advances in Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Adult Glioblastoma: Overcoming Chemical and Physical Barriers

Mirna Lechpammer, Rohan Rao, Sanjit Shah, Mona Mirheydari, Debanjan Bhattacharya, Abigail Koehler, Donatien Kamdem Toukam, Kevin J. Haworth, Daniel Pomeranz Krummel, Soma Sengupta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Glioblastoma, or glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, WHO Grade IV), is a highly aggressive adult glioma. Despite extensive efforts to improve treatment, the current standard-of-care (SOC) regimen, which consists of maximal resection, radiotherapy, and temozolomide (TMZ), achieves only a 12–15 month survival. The clinical improvements achieved through immunotherapy in several extracranial solid tumors, including non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, inspired investigations to pursue various immunotherapeutic interventions in adult glioblastoma patients. Despite some encouraging reports from preclinical and early-stage clinical trials, none of the tested agents have been convincing in Phase III clinical trials. One, but not the only, factor that is accountable for the slow progress is the blood–brain barrier, which prevents most antitumor drugs from reaching the target in appreciable amounts. Herein, we review the current state of immunotherapy in glioblastoma and discuss the significant challenges that prevent advancement. We also provide thoughts on steps that may be taken to remediate these challenges, including the application of ultrasound technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1627
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Brain tumors
  • Gliomas
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunotherapy
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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