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Immunologic checkpoints in cancer therapy: focus on the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor pathway

Authors Momtaz P, Postow M

Received 10 August 2014

Accepted for publication 15 September 2014

Published 15 November 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 357—365

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PGPM.S53163

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin H. Bluth


Parisa Momtaz,1,2 Michael A Postow1,2

1Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA; 2Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA


Abstract: T-lymphocytes have the potential to recognize cancer antigens as foreign and therefore eliminate them. However, immune checkpoints such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA)-4 and programmed cell death (PD)-1 receptor and its ligands (PD-L1, PD-L2) suppress the activity of T-lymphocytes. Advances in the understanding of immunology and its role in cancer have led to the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors that block CTLA-4 and PD-1 and result in durable responses in patients with a wide range of cancers. PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors are currently in many stages of clinical investigation, and the anti-PD-1 antibody, pembrolizumab, was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Many questions remain to be answered, such as the optimal administration schedule, biomarkers that associate with benefit, and potential for use of PD-1 agents in combination approaches. Nonetheless, immunotherapy with PD-1 blocking antibodies is now becoming an integral part in the management of cancer.

Keyword: immune checkpoints, immunotherapy, programmed cell death protein-1, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4

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