Background: Glioblastoma multiforme is a malignant intracranial neoplasm that constitutes a therapeutic challenge because of the associated high morbidity and mortality given the lack of effective approved medication and aggressive nature of the tumor. However, there has been extensive research recently to address the reasons implicated in the resistant nature of the tumor to pharmaceutical compounds, which have resulted in several clinical trials investigating promising treatment approaches. Methods: We reviewed literature published since 2010 from PUBMED and several annual meeting abstracts through 15 September 2020. Selected articles included those relevant to topics of glioblastoma tumor biology, original basic research, clinical trials, seminal reviews, and meta-analyses. We provide a discussion based on the collected evidence regarding the challenging factors encountered during treatment, and we highlighted the relevant trials of novel therapies including immunotherapy and targeted medication. Results: Selected literature revealed four main factors implicated in the low efficacy encountered with investigational treatments which included: (1) blood-brain barrier; (2) immunosuppressive microenvironment; (3) genetic heterogeneity; (4) external factors related to previous systemic treatment that can modulate tumor microenvironment. Investigational therapies discussed in this review were classified as immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Immunotherapy included: (1) immune checkpoint inhibitors; (2) adoptive cell transfer therapy; (3) therapeutic vaccines; (4) oncolytic virus therapy. Targeted therapy included tyrosine kinase inhibitors and other receptor inhibitors. Finally, we provide our perspective on future directions in treatment of glioblastoma. Conclusion: Despite the limited success in development of effective therapeutics in glioblastoma, many treatment approaches hold potential promise including immunotherapy and novel combinational drugs. Addressing the molecular landscape and resistant immunosuppressive nature of glioblastoma are imperative in further development of effective treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • CART therapy
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oncolytic virus
  • Vaccine


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