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Immune checkpoint inhibitors for small cell lung cancer: opportunities and challenges

Authors Regzedmaa O, Zhang H, Liu H, Chen J

Received 8 February 2019

Accepted for publication 11 May 2019

Published 13 June 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 4605—4620


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Aruna Narula

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Carlos E Vigil

Orgilmaa Regzedmaa,1 Hongbing Zhang,1 Hongyu Liu,2 Jun Chen1,2

1Department of Lung Cancer Surgery, Tianjin Lung Cancer Institute, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin 300052, People’s Republic of China; 2Tianjin Key Laboratory of Lung Cancer Metastasis and Tumor Microenvironment, Tianjin Lung Cancer Institute, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin 300052, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Lung cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths in 2018. Although small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive type of lung cancer, it shows high response rates to chemotherapy in early lines of therapy. Unfortunately, it is associated with rapid recurrence and relatively poor prognosis. Over the last few years, considerable progress has been made in cancer immunotherapy. One of the most promising ways to activate therapeutic antitumor immunity is via blockade of immune checkpoints, such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death protein-1/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1). Immune checkpoint inhibitors show promise as SCLC therapeutics. The overall expectation for immuno-oncology is high, and the outcomes of trials will hopefully reveal a variety of treatment options for SCLC patients. In this review, we discuss the discovery of new immune inhibitory and stimulatory pathways and rational combination strategies to explain the role of immunotherapy in SCLC and its future opportunities and challenges.

Keywords: small cell lung cancer, immune checkpoint inhibitors, CTLA4, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein4, PD1, programmed cell death protein1, PDL1, programmed cell death ligand 1, next generation of immune checkpoints

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