JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Immune checkpoint inhibitors for nonsmall cell lung cancer treatment

Yuh-Min Chen
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: JCMA 2017, 80 (1): 7-14
27693088
Immune checkpoint inhibition with blocking antibodies that target cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway [PD-1/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)] have demonstrated promise in a variety of malignancies. While ipilimumab has been approved as a CTLA-4 blocking antibody by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced melanoma, it is still not approved for lung cancer treatment. In contrast, nivolumab and pembrolizumab, both PD-1 blocking antibodies, have been approved for second-line treatment of nonsmall cell lung cancer in 2015 because of their high potency and long-lasting effects in some patient subgroups. Other PD-1 and PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies are also in active development phase. Treatment with such immune checkpoint inhibitors is associated with a unique pattern of immune-related adverse events or side effects. Combination approaches involving CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 blockade or checkpoint inhibitors with chemotherapy or radiotherapy are being investigated to determine whether they may enhance the efficacy of treatment. Despite many challenges ahead, immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors has already become a new and important treatment modality for lung cancer in the last decade following the discovery of targeted therapy.

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