A Head Start: CAR-T Cell Therapy for Primary Malignant Brain Tumors

Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2020 Jul 28;21(9):73. doi: 10.1007/s11864-020-00772-6.


Oncology is the midst of a therapeutic renaissance. The realization of immunotherapy as an efficacious and expanding treatment option has empowered physicians and patients alike. However, despite these remarkable advances, we have only just broached the potential immunotherapy has to offer and have yet to successfully expand these novel modalities to the field of neuro-oncology. In recent years, exciting results in preclinical studies of immune adjuvants, oncolytic viruses, or cell therapy have been met with only fleeting signs of response when taken to early phase trials. Although many have speculated why these innovative approaches result in impaired outcomes, we are left empty-handed in a field plagued by a drought of new therapies. Herein, we will review the recent advances across cellular therapy for primary malignant brain tumors, an approach that lends itself to overcoming the inherent resistance mechanisms which have impeded the success of prior treatment attempts.

Keywords: CAR-T cell; Cell therapy; Chimeric antigen receptor; GBM; Glioblastoma; Primary malignant brain tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / adverse effects
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive* / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive* / methods
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / genetics
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / immunology
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen