Focused ultrasound-aided immunomodulation in glioblastoma multiforme: a therapeutic concept.
J Ther Ultrasound. 2016 ;4:2. Epub 2016 Jan 22. PMID: 26807257
Patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) exhibit a deficient anti-tumor immune response. Both arms of the immune system were shown to be hampered in GBM, namely the local cellular immunity mediated by the Th1 subset of helper T cells and the systemic humoral immunity mediated by the Th2 subset of helper T cells. Immunotherapy is rapidly becoming one of the pillars of anti-cancer therapy. GBM has not received similar clinical successes as of yet, which may be attributed to its relative inaccessibility (the blood-brain barrier (BBB)), its poor immunogenicity, few characterized cancer antigens, or any of the many other immune mechanisms known to be hampered. Focused ultrasound (FUS) is emerging as a promising treatment approach. The effects of FUS on the tissue are not merely thermal. Mounting evidence suggests that in addition to thermal ablation, FUS induces mechanical acoustic cavitation and immunomodulation plays a key role in boosting the host anti-tumor immune responses. We separately discuss the different pertinent immunosuppressive mechanisms harnessed by GBM and the immunomodulatory effects of FUS. The effect of FUS and microbubbles in disrupting the BBB and introducing antigens and drugs to the tumor milieu is discussed. The FUS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion and stress response, the FUS-induced change in the intra-tumoral immune-cells populations, the FUS-induced augmentation of dendritic cells activity, and the FUS-induced increased cytotoxic cells potency are all discussed. We next attempt at offering a conceptual synopsis of the synergistic treatment of GBM utilizing FUS and immunotherapy. In conclusion, it is increasingly apparent that no single treatment modality will triumph on GBM. The reviewed FUS-induced immunomodulation effects can be harnessed to current and developing immunotherapy approaches. Together, these may overcome GBM-induced immune-evasion and generate a clinically relevant anti-tumor immune response.