Immunotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer: a bridge between research and clinical practice

Written by Passiglia Francesco, Commendatore Oriana, Vitali Milena & Conca Raffaele

Lung cancer has been historically considered a poorly immunogenic disease because of the few evidence of immune responses in affected patients and the limited efficacy of immunomodulating strategies. Recent understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to cancer immune evasion has allowed the development of a new class of drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors, which reactivate host responses with outstanding clinical benefits in a portion of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. In this review, we briefly summarize the basis of immunogenicity and immune escape of cancer, with specific focus on non-small-cell lung cancer, mechanisms underlying immune checkpoint inhibitors efficacy and the most updated results on potential biomarkers, with the final aim of defining current unmet needs of immunotherapy in clinical practice.