Sequencing Technology May Improve Immunotherapy in Glioblastoma

Advanced T cell receptor sequencing may predict efficacy of immunotherapy in brain cancer treatment.

Advanced T cell receptor sequencing technology has been developed to help better predict the efficacy of immunotherapy in glioblastoma (GBM) patients.

GBM is a deadly brain cancer with poor survival rates. In the United States, approximately 18,000 people die from GBM each year.

The current 2-year study published in Cancer Immunology Research used advanced T cell receptor sequencing technology to explore immune responses in GBM patients, both before and after treatment with a personalized cellular immune therapy of autologous tumor lysate pulsed dendritic cell (DC) vaccination.

During the study, researchers compared the level of biomarkers on T cells that are present in tumors and the bloodstream. The changes were then tracked throughout treatment.

“We performed next generation sequencing of the T cell receptor repertoire on tumors and peripheral blood samples from 15 patients in this study,” said lead researcher Robert Prins. “We found that when there were elevated levels of T cells initially present inside the glioblastoma tumor, the patients lived longer following immunotherapy compared to those without T cell infiltration into their tumors.

“We also found that when there was a significant overlap of T cells with the same T cell receptors in the tumor and in the blood, survival was also extended.”

The study was the first to utilize high throughput sequencing to monitor a systemic T cell response in real time. Additionally, it’s the first to study how T cell receptor expression in tumors and peripheral blood could be used as a possible indicator or a systemic response to immune based treatments.