Glioblastoma (GBM) is the deadliest form of brain cancer. It is a highly angiogenic and immunosuppressive malignancy. Although immune checkpoint blockade therapies have revolutionized treatment for many types of cancer, their therapeutic efficacy in GBM has been far less than expected or even ineffective. In this study, we found that the genomic signature of glioma-derived endothelial cells (GdEC) correlates with an immunosuppressive state and poor prognosis of patients with glioma. We established an in vitro model of GdEC differentiation for drug screening and used this to determine that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) activators could effectively block GdEC formation by inducing oxidative stress. Furthermore, cAMP activators impaired GdEC differentiation in vivo, normalized the tumor vessels, and altered the tumor immune profile, especially increasing the influx and function of CD8+ effector T cells. Dual blockade of GdECs and PD-1 induced tumor regression and established antitumor immune memory. Thus, our study reveals that endothelial transdifferentiation of GBM shapes an endothelial immune cell barrier and supports the clinical development of combining GdEC blockade and immunotherapy for GBM.

See related article by Lee et al.

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