Dendritic cell therapy of primary brain tumors

Mol Med. 2001 Oct;7(10):659-67.


Although current treatment modalities for malignant gliomas, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, have been improved markedly in the past two decades, the prognosis of these neoplasms remains poor, the two year survival rate being approximately 5%. Therefore, alternative treatment options, such as gene therapy and immunotherapy are rapidly gaining momentum. One of the most promising immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer is the vaccination of cancer patients with dendritic cells (DC) pulsed with tumor antigens. Immunotherapy with DC seems to be able to overcome, at least partially, the immunosuppressive state associated with primary malignant gliomas. DC therapy proved to be safe in both animal models and clinical trials. No serious side effects and no evidence of autoimmune toxicity occurred. Most studies used DC pulsed with an array of tumor-associated antigens rather than single peptides, to allow for presentation of unknown tumor-specific antigens to DC. Routes of administration either were subcutaneous, intradermal or intraperitoneal, with multiple injections of DC to enhance antitumor immunity. DC therapy as an adjuvant treatment for patients with malignant glioma seems to be biologically safe. Further clinical studies are warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*