ONC201: a new treatment option being tested clinically for recurrent glioblastoma

Marie D. Ralff, Amriti R. Lulla, Jessica Wagner, Wafik S. El-Deiry


Abstract: Glioblastoma is an aggressive central nervous system tumor with a 5-year-survival rate of less than 10%. Patients diagnosed with the disease are treated with surgery, radiation and temozolomide chemotherapy. Despite survival benefits, patients eventually relapse. There is a need for new treatments with improved efficacy. Imipridone ONC201 is a small molecule originally identified as a TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL)-inducing compound. ONC201 has the unique ability to induce expression of both pro-death ligand TRAIL and its receptor DR5 through engagement of the cellular integrated stress response (ISR) pathway. Arrillaga-Romany et al. report early results from futility analysis of a phase II clinical trial of ONC201 in 17 patients with recurrent or refractory glioblastoma conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The results are promising, as ONC201 shows preliminary signs of efficacy. Further testing of ONC201 in an expansion cohort of patients with glioblastoma is ongoing.