Zoledronic acid enhances Vδ2 T-lymphocyte antitumor response to human glioma cell lines

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Jan-Mar 2011;24(1):139-48. doi: 10.1177/039463201102400116.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most frequent and aggressive primary brain tumor in humans, responds modestly to treatment: most patients survive less than one year after diagnosis, despite both classical and innovative treatment approaches. A recent paper focused on γδ T-cell response in GBM patients, suggesting the application of an immunomodulating strategy based on γδ T-cells which is already in clinical trials for other tumors. Human Vγ2 T-cells recognize changes in the mevalonate metabolic pathway of transformed cells by activating cytotoxic response, and by cytokine and chemokine release. Interestingly, this activation may also be induced in vivo by drugs, such as zoledronic acid, that induce the accumulation of Vγ2 T-cell ligand Isopentenyl-pyrophosphate by blocking the farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase enzyme. The aim of our work is to confirm whether bisphosphonate treatment would make glioma cell lines more susceptible to lysis by in vitro expanded γδ T-cells, improving their antitumor activity. We expanded in vitro human Vγ2 T-cells by phosphoantigen stimulation and tested their activity against glioma cell lines. Co-culture with glioma cells induced Vγ2 T-cell differentiation in effector/memory cells, killing glioma cells by the release of perforin. Interestingly, glioma cells were directly affected by zoledronic acid; moreover, treatment increased their activating ability on Vγ2 T-cells, inducing an effective antitumor cytotoxic response. Taken together, our results show that aminobisphosphonate drugs may play a dual role against GBM, by directly affecting tumor cells, and by enhancing the antitumor response of Vγ2 T-cells. Our results confirm the practicability of this approach as a new immunotherapeutic strategy for GBM treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / drug effects*
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / immunology
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K / physiology
  • Perforin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Zoledronic Acid


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Imidazoles
  • KLRK1 protein, human
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Perforin
  • Zoledronic Acid