Outcomes in children and adolescents with recurrent or progressive high-grade glioma are poor, with a historical median overall survival of 5.6 months. Pediatric high-grade gliomas are largely immunologically silent or “cold,” with few tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Preclinically, pediatric brain tumors are highly sensitive to oncolytic virotherapy with genetically engineered herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) G207, which lacks genes essential for replication in normal brain tissue.
We conducted a phase 1 trial of G207, which used a 3+3 design with four dose cohorts of children and adolescents with biopsy-confirmed recurrent or progressive supratentorial brain tumors. Patients underwent stereotactic placement of up to four intratumoral catheters. The following day, they received G207 (10 or 10 plaque-forming units) by controlled-rate infusion over a period of 6 hours. Cohorts 3 and 4 received radiation (5 Gy) to the gross tumor volume within 24 hours after G207 administration. Viral shedding from saliva, conjunctiva, and blood was assessed by culture and polymerase-chain-reaction assay. Matched pre- and post-treatment tissue samples were examined for tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes by immunohistologic analysis.
Twelve patients 7 to 18 years of age with high-grade glioma received G207. No dose-limiting toxic effects or serious adverse events were attributed to G207 by the investigators. Twenty grade 1 adverse events were possibly related to G207. No virus shedding was detected. Radiographic, neuropathological, or clinical responses were seen in 11 patients. The median overall survival was 12.2 months (95% confidence interval, 8.0 to 16.4); as of June 5, 2020, a total of 4 of 11 patients were still alive 18 months after G207 treatment. G207 markedly increased the number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.
Intratumoral G207 alone and with radiation had an acceptable adverse-event profile with evidence of responses in patients with recurrent or progressive pediatric high-grade glioma. G207 converted immunologically “cold” tumors to “hot.” (Supported by the Food and Drug Administration and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02457845.).
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