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Immune checkpoint blockade

Worthy of a Nobel Prize?

By Steffen Dettling

At least this is what Alexander Eggermont (University Paris Sud, France) recently predicted at the keynote lecture at CIMT 2015 in Mainz, Germany.

The major immune checkpoints PD-1/PD-1L and CTLA-4, both inhibiting T cell activation, are emerging as promising therapeutic targets in many cancer types. Long-lasting clinical responses are obtained in first immunotherapy trials using monoclonal antibodies against these checkpoints in melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and non-small cell lung carcinoma. First data from Phase I clinical trials suggest a positive correlation of response rates and higher loads of somatic mutations. For instance, NSCLC patients with a positive smoking status seems to benefit more from immunotherapy compared to non-smoking patients. For more detailed information about how the mutational heterogeneity in tumors affects the success of immune checkpoint-targeting therapies, check out this review.

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