Mechanisms of Resistance to PD-1 and PD-L1 Blockade

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Cancer immunotherapy utilizing blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint has revolutionized the treatment of a wide variety of malignancies, leading to durable therapeutic responses not typically seen with traditional cytotoxic anticancer agents. However, these therapies are ineffective in a significant percentage of patients, and some initial responders eventually develop resistance to these therapies with relapsed disease. The mechanisms leading to both primary and acquired resistance to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition are varied and can be both multifactorial and overlapping in an individual patient. As the mechanisms of resistance to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade continue to be further characterized, new strategies are being developed to prevent or reverse resistance to therapy, leading to improved patient outcomes.

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