The first immunotherapy trial to investigate the role of immune checkpoint blockade for meningioma tumors is currently underway. Our group at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied a number of meningioma tumors and noted that most grade 2 and 3 meningiomas, and some grade 1 meningiomas, express a molecule called PD-L1 (programmed death ligand 1). PD-L1 and its binding partner PD-1 have been shown to be critical molecules expressed by many cancers that function to protect the tumor from being attacked by the immune system. Blocking PD-1 has led to dramatic improvements in survival for patients with a wide variety of cancers. We therefore initiated a phase II study of nivolumab (also known as Opdivo) which is a PD-1 inhibitor for patients with grade 2 or 3 meningiomas that have progressed after prior radiation and surgery.
The trial is enrolling patients to participate. Nivolumab is provided free of charge and is administered every two weeks as a 30 minute infusion in the Dana-Farber clinic. The treatment continues as long as it is working. Side effects have been minimal and although not all patients are responding, preliminary results are encouraging. If you have further questions about the trial please get further information at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02648997), or contact the Center for Neuro-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (617-632-4750) or visit the Dana-Farber Center for Neuro-Oncology website (www.dana-farber.org).
David A. Reardon, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Clinical Director, Center for Neuro-Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue, D2134
Boston, MA 02215-5450
Administrative Assistant: Patrick Curran