Post-mortem studies in glioblastoma patients treated with thermotherapy using magnetic nanoparticles

Biomaterials. 2009 Jan;30(1):52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.09.044. Epub 2008 Oct 10.


Patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common primary brain tumor in adults, have still a poor prognosis though new strategies of radio- and chemotherapy have been developed. Recently, our group demonstrated the feasibility, tolerability and anti-tumoral effects of a newly developed therapeutic approach, termed thermotherapy using magnetic nanoparticles or magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH), in a murine model of malignant glioma. Currently, the efficacy of MFH is being evaluated in a phase II study. Here, we report on post-mortem neuropathological findings of patients with GBM receiving MFH. In brain autopsies the installed magnetic nanoparticles were dispersed or distributed as aggregates within geographic tumor necroses, restricted in distribution to the sites of instillation. Therefore, our results underscore the need for multiple trajectories of instillation. The typical GBM necrosis with pseudopalisading was free of particles. Dispersed particles and particle aggregates were phagocytosed mainly by macrophages whereas glioblastoma cells showed an uptake to a minor extent. MFH therapy further promotes uptake of nanoparticles in macrophages, likely as a consequence of tumor inherent and therapy induced formation of necrosis with subsequent infiltration and activation of phagocytes. We did not observe bystander effects of MFH such as sarcomatous tumour formation, formation of a sterile abscess or foreign body giant cell reaction. Furthermore, all patients did not present any clinical symptoms related to possible adverse effects of MFH.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Magnetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Postmortem Changes*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed