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Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumour in adults. Despite the combination of novel therapeutical approaches, it remains a deadly malignancy with an abysmal prognosis. GBM is a polymorphic tumour from both molecular and histological points of view. It consists of different malignant cells and various stromal cells, contributing to tumour initiation, progression, and treatment response. GBM's microenvironment is multifaceted and is made up of soluble factors, extracellular matrix components, tissue-resident cell types (e.g., neurons, astrocytes, endothelial cells, pericytes, and fibroblasts) together with resident (e.g., microglia) or recruited (e.g., bone marrow-derived macrophages) immune cells. These latter constitute the so-called immune microenvironment, accounting for a substantial GBM's tumour volume. Despite the abundance of immune cells, an intense state of tumour immunosuppression is promoted and developed; this represents the significant challenge for cancer cells' immune-mediated destruction. Though literature data suggest that distinct GBM's subtypes harbour differences in their microenvironment, its role in treatment response remains obscure. However, an in-depth investigation of GBM's microenvironment may lead to novel therapeutic opportunities to improve patients' outcomes. This review will elucidate the GBM's microenvironment composition, highlighting the current state of the art in immunotherapy approaches. We will focus on novel strategies of active and passive immunotherapies, including vaccination, gene therapy, checkpoint blockade, and adoptive T-cell therapies.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes (Basel)

Publication Date





cancer stem-cells, glioblastoma, immunotherapy, tumour microenvironment, Brain Neoplasms, Disease Progression, Glioblastoma, Humans, Immunotherapy, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Tumor Microenvironment