The Immune System and Its Contribution to the Radiotherapeutic Response of Glioblastoma

  • Benjamin CooperEmail author
  • Ralph Vatner
  • Encouse Golden
  • Joshua Silverman
  • Silvia Formenti
Part of the Current Clinical Pathology book series (CCPATH)


The immune system plays an important role in both counteracting and facilitating cancer development, as well as contributing to the effects of standard cancer treatments. As such, the immune system is most certainly involved in the response of glioblastoma to radiotherapy; however, it is difficult to elucidate the specific role of immunity due to limitations in animal models and the difficulty in obtaining tissue to study molecular correlates of progression and response. Yet there is abundant evidence that leukocytes and other immune mediators recognize and respond to glioma cells, and indirect evidence that they participate in the therapeutic response to radiation. After a brief introduction on the role of the innate and adaptive immune response to cancer, we review the effects of radiotherapy on the anti-tumor immune response, including inflammation, T-cell priming, and immune suppression. We first introduce the concept of radiation induced immunogenic cell death, its application to the unique immunological landscape of the CNS, and present available evidence that radiation induces an immune response against glioblastoma. We then discuss some of the barriers of the brain/tumor microenvironment that may interfere with effective anti-tumor immunity, and conclude with suggested approaches to better harness the immune response in the treatment of glioblastoma with radiotherapy.


Radiation Radiotherapy Immunotherapy Abscopal Vaccine Microenvironment Glioblastoma Brain tumor Immune system Blood–brain barrier Adoptive cell transfer 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Cooper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ralph Vatner
    • 1
  • Encouse Golden
    • 1
  • Joshua Silverman
    • 1
  • Silvia Formenti
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiation OncologyNYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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