Transient local response and persistent tumor control in a child with recurrent malignant glioma: treatment with combination therapy including dendritic cell therapy. Case report
Treatment of malignant glioma is difficult and discouraging. Even after resection and maximal adjuvant therapy, the prognosis remains poor. The authors sought a novel form of treatment, such as stimulating the patient’s own immune response against the tumor, and developed a protocol of tumor vaccination in which autologous dendritic cells (DCs) were used in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. A 4-year-old girl was treated by means of biopsy sampling and radiotherapy for a rolandic low-grade glioma. Ten years later, a Grade III recurrence was discovered and treated with subtotal resection, interstitial radiation, six courses of oral temozolomide, and 12 courses of oral VP 16. At the end of the chemotherapy cycle, a new rapidly growing recurrence was diagnosed. A macroscopically complete resection was performed. Afterward, the girl was vaccinated with autologous DCs that had been pulsed ex vivo with the homogenate of the resection specimen. She received six vaccines in total. The efficacy of immunization was checked by a positive delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction after the second injection. After the fifth vaccine, a transient contrast enhancement without mass effect was visualized on magnetic resonance imaging. Simultaneously, positron emission tomography imaging revealed a transient increase of metabolic activity around the resection cavity, but the metabolic uptake ratio remained below 1.8. The patient’s disease is still in complete remission 24 months after the last surgery. She is clinically well with minor and stable left hemiparesis. This case report illustrates the potential of vaccination with DCs loaded with crude tumor homogenate as adjuvant therapy to induce prolonged tumor control of malignant glioma and the objective noninvasively monitored immune response against infiltrating tumor cells.