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Malignant cells may subvert and escape endogenous host immune surveillance by up-regulation of immune inhibitory signals known as immune checkpoints. These checkpoints are important therapeutic targets, and antibodies that block checkpoint signaling have shown remarkable efficacy in some solid tumors as well as in some refractory hematologic malignancies. In hematologic cancers, the mechanism of these checkpoints is complex, as the tumor and immune system are one and the same. In this review, we evaluate the biology of checkpoint inhibition, review the current data on its efficacy in lymphoid tumors, and explore uncertainties in the field, including those involving the precise mechanisms of action, the appropriate timing of therapy, and the differences in response rate between lymphoid tumor types.Malignant cells can subvert endogenous host immune surveillance by upregulating immune inhibitory checkpoints. Checkpoint blocking antibodies have demonstrated efficacy in several solid tumors and in some refractory hematologic malignancies. In hematologic cancers, the mechanism is complex, as the tumor and the immune system are one and the same. This mini-review evaluates the biology, efficacy and uncertainties of checkpoint inhibition in lymphoid tumors.