Targeting immunoliposomes to EGFR-positive glioblastoma

ESMO Open. 2022 Feb;7(1):100365. doi: 10.1016/j.esmoop.2021.100365. Epub 2022 Jan 5.


Background: We assessed the capacity of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted immunoliposomes to deliver cargo to brain tumor tissue in patients with relapsed glioblastoma harboring an EGFR amplification. We aimed to assess the tolerability and effectiveness of anti-EGFR immunoliposomes loaded with doxorubicin (anti-EGFR ILs-dox) in glioblastoma multiforme patients.

Patients and methods: Patients with EGFR-amplified, relapsed glioblastoma were included in this phase I pharmacokinetic trial. Patients received up to four cycles of anti-EGFR ILs-dox. Twenty-four hours later, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were obtained. In addition, we also treated three patients with anti-EGFR ILs-dox before resection of their relapsed glioblastoma. Doxorubicin concentrations were measured in plasma, CSF, and tumor tissue. Safety and efficacy parameters were also obtained.

Results: There were no or negligible levels of doxorubicin found in the CSF demonstrating that anti-EGFR ILs-dox are not able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). However, significant levels were detected in glioblastoma tissue 24 h after the application, indicating that the disruption of BBB integrity present in high-grade gliomas might enable liposome delivery into tumor tissue. No new safety issues were observed. The median progression-free survival was 1.5 months and the median overall survival was 8 months. One patient undergoing surgery had a very long remission suggesting that neoadjuvant administration may have a positive effect on outcome.

Conclusions: We clearly demonstrate that anti-EGFR-immunoliposomes can be targeted to EGFR-amplified glioblastoma and cargo-in this case doxorubicin-can be delivered, although these immunoliposomes do not cross the intact BBB. (The GBM-LIPO trial was registered as NCT03603379).

Keywords: blood–brain barrier; cerebrospinal fluid; nanomedicine; pharmacokinetic; targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacokinetics
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Glioblastoma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liposomes


  • Liposomes
  • Doxorubicin
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors

Associated data