Gene therapy for malignant glioma: current clinical status

Mol Ther. 2005 Oct;12(4):585-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2005.07.357.


Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain tumor with a dismal prognosis. Gene therapy may offer a new option for the treatment of these patients. Several gene therapy approaches have shown anti-tumor efficiency in experimental studies, and the first clinical trials for the treatment of malignant glioma were conducted in the 1990s. HSV-tk gene therapy has been the pioneering and most commonly used approach, but oncolytic conditionally replicating adenoviruses and herpes simplex virus mutant vectors, p53, interleukins, interferons, and antisense oligonucleotides have also been used. During the past few years, adenoviruses have become the most popular gene transfer vectors, and some recent randomized, controlled trials have shown significant anti-tumor efficacy in clinical use. However, efficient gene delivery into the brain still presents a major problem, and there is a lack of definitive phase III trials, which would avoid potential problems associated with a small number of patients, inadvertent patient selection, and overinterpretation of results based on a few long-time survivors. For clinical efficacy, median survival is one of the most rigorous endpoints. It is used here to evaluate the usefulness of various treatment approaches and current clinical status of gene therapy for malignant glioma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense