OBJECT: Treatment for glioblastoma multiforme has failed to show any progress for decades. While specific immunization with tumor cells modified with Newcastle-Disease-Virus (NDV) has been reported successful in some extracerebral tumors, its effect on glioblastoma is unknown. We report on 11 patients, in whom this approach was analyzed.
METHODS: A vaccine was produced from autologous tumor cell cultures of 11 patients with glioblastoma. After completed surgery and radiotherapy an intracutaneous vaccination was performed 4 times with a 2 week interval and finally after 3 months. Local reactions, general side effects and survival were monitored closely.
RESULTS: The local reaction of the skin after injection of vaccine increased from 1.67 to 4.05 cm2 in 8 weeks. The skin reaction after parallel injection of inactivated, untreated tumor cells increased from 0.11 to 1.09 cm2. The median survival was 46 weeks (mean 60 weeks). No side effects were noted.
CONCLUSION: Active specific immunization with NDV-modified glioblastoma cells produced a noticeable peripheral immune response. In this preliminary series survival of patients was not significantly longer after active specific immunization than after combined treatment of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. As there were no side effects, however, active specific immunization may be considered an alternative in the management of glioblastoma.