Immunotherapy-based combinations: an update

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The advent of immunotherapy significantly improved clinical outcomes in cancer patients, although immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) still lack of efficacy in a consistent proportion of treated patients. The purpose of this article is to review the most innovative and clinically promising ICB-based combinations designed to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.

Recent findings

First-line combinatorial treatment with ipilimumab and nivolumab has recently shown to be superior to the standard of care in a subset of metastatic nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The combination of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 blockade with antiangiogenics has demonstrated a consistent clinical efficacy, especially for the combination of bevacizumab and atezolizumab as first-line therapy in metastatic RCC. The sequential combination of definitive chemoradiotherapy followed by durvalumab maintenance in advanced, unresectable NSCLC became the new standard of care, while the addition of pembrolizumab to first-line chemotherapy in metastatic NSCLC significantly improves overall survival. Despite promising results for the combination of ICBs with v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B/MAPK/ERK kinase inhibitors or epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, especially in melanoma and NSCLC, safety concerns slowed down the development of such strategies.

Summary

Immunotherapy-based combinations are becoming the standard of care for cancer treatment, in particularly for advanced melanoma, NSCLC and RCC.

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