Advances in immunotherapy for treatment of lung cancer

Jean G Bustamante Alvarez, María González-Cao, Niki Karachaliou, Mariacarmela Santarpia, Santiago Viteri, Cristina Teixidó, Rafael Rosell
Cancer Biology & Medicine 2015, 12 (3): 209-22
Different approaches for treating lung cancer have been developed over time, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies against activating mutations. Lately, better understanding of the role of the immunological system in tumor control has opened multiple doors to implement different strategies to enhance immune response against cancer cells. It is known that tumor cells elude immune response by several mechanisms. The development of monoclonal antibodies against the checkpoint inhibitor programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1), on T cells, has led to high activity in cancer patients with long lasting responses. Nivolumab, an anti PD-1 inhibitor, has been recently approved for the treatment of squamous cell lung cancer patients, given the survival advantage demonstrated in a phase III trial. Pembrolizumab, another anti PD-1 antibody, has received FDA breakthrough therapy designation for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), supported by data from a phase I trial. Clinical trials with anti PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies in NSCLC have demonstrated very good tolerability and activity, with response rates around 20% and a median duration of response of 18 months.

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