The Molecular and Microenvironmental Landscape of Glioblastomas: Implications for the Novel Treatment Choices
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive primary central nervous system tumor. Surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy with alkylating agents constitutes standard first-line treatment of GBM. Complete resection of the GBM tumors is generally not possible given its high invasive features. Although this combination therapy can prolong survival, the prognosis is still poor due to several factors including chemoresistance. In recent years, a comprehensive characterization of the GBM-associated molecular signature has been performed. This has allowed the possibility to introduce a more personalized therapeutic approach for GBM, in which novel targeted therapies, including those employing tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), could be employed. The GBM tumor microenvironment (TME) exerts a key role in GBM tumor progression, in particular by providing an immunosuppressive state with low numbers of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and other immune effector cell types that contributes to tumor proliferation and growth. The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has been successfully introduced in numerous advanced cancers as well as promising results have been shown for the use of these antibodies in untreated brain metastases from melanoma and from non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Consequently, the use of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors has also been proposed in several clinical trials for the treatment of GBM. In the present review, we will outline the main GBM molecular and TME aspects providing also the grounds for novel targeted therapies and immunotherapies using ICIs for GBM.