Immunotherapy and Combination Strategies in Pancreatic Cancer: Current Status and Emerging Trends

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Pancreatic cancer is among the most aggressive malignancies with no effective therapeutic options thus far. Immunotherapy has recently emerged as a promising alternative for the treatment of various solid tumors. In particular, promising results in clinical trials were observed for therapies targeting immune checkpoint molecules. Efforts have been put into investigating the potential of immunotherapy in treating pancreatic cancer. While most of the clinical trial results are still being awaited, several intrinsic features of pancreatic cancer such as low mutational load and the presence of highly immunosuppressive desmoplasia significantly hamper the efficacy of immunotherapy in this disease. These unique features of pancreatic cancer, however, have advanced our understanding of tumor immunology and might help to tailor the future direction of immunotherapy. In this review, we summarize the current immunotherapeutic strategies and clinical trials targeting checkpoint molecules in pancreatic cancer. Emerging trends towards various combinations with therapies targeting immunosuppressive myeloid cells are also discussed.

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