Immunotherapy and biological modifiers for the treatment of malignant brain tumors

Curr Opin Oncol. 2003 May;15(3):204-8. doi: 10.1097/00001622-200305000-00004.


The relative ineffectiveness of current therapies for malignant gliomas has led to the need for novel therapeutics. Therapies based on biologic modifiers are among a variety of cancer treatments currently in use or under experimental evaluation and have shown great promise, especially since several potent stimulators of the immune system have been cloned and are now available for clinical use. Early attempts at glioma therapy based on biologic modifiers, however, have failed to demonstrate significant effectiveness. In this review, we select and summarize the results of preclinical and clinical studies published during the past two years that focus on immunotherapy and biologic modifiers for treating gliomas. Despite limited clinical success, we conclude that an increased understanding of molecular biology and immunology from recent studies may pave the way for more effective approaches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Glioma / mortality
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Histocompatibility
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Interferons / analysis
  • Interferons / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Analysis
  • Telomerase / analysis
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interferons
  • Telomerase