The role of immunotherapy in treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been gaining interest over the past few years. This has been driven primarily by promising results from trials evaluating antagonist antibodies that target co-inhibitory immune checkpoints expressed on tumor cells and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment. Immune checkpoints exist to dampen or terminate immune activity to guard against autoimmunity and allow for self-tolerance. However, tumors can take advantage of these immune checkpoint pathways to evade destruction. Antibodies that block inhibitory checkpoints, such as anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies have demonstrated delayed tumor growth and increased survival. Novel therapies are now investigating combining checkpoint inhibitors with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation and vaccines to produce synergistic antitumor activity.
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