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Immune checkpoint inhibitors: the new frontier in non–small cell lung cancer treatment

Authors El-Osta H, Shahid K, Mills G, Peddi P

Received 23 April 2016

Accepted for publication 11 July 2016

Published 16 August 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 5101—5116

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S111209

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Pietersz


Hazem El-Osta, Kamran Shahid, Glenn M Mills, Prakash Peddi

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA

Abstract: Lung cancer is the major cause for cancer-related death in the US. Although advances in chemotherapy and targeted therapy have improved the outcome of metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, its prognosis remains dismal. A deeper understanding of the complex interaction between the immune system and tumor microenvironment has identified immune checkpoint inhibitors as new avenue of immunotherapy. Rather than acting directly on the tumor, these therapies work by removing the inhibition exerted by tumor cell or other immune cells on the immune system, promoting antitumoral immune response. To date, two programmed death-1 inhibitors, namely nivolumab and pembrolizumab, have received the US Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer that failed platinum-based chemotherapy. This manuscript provides a brief overview of the pathophysiology of cancer immune evasion, summarizes pertinent data on completed and ongoing clinical trials involving checkpoint inhibitors, discusses the different strategies to optimize their function, and outlines various challenges that are faced in this promising yet evolving field.

Keywords: checkpoint inhibitors, immunotherapy, nivolumab, non-small-cell lung cancer, pembrolizumab, programmed death-1, programmed death ligand-1

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