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Eur J Cancer. 2013 Sep;49(14):2968-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2013.07.001. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Drug of the year: programmed death-1 receptor/programmed death-1 ligand-1 receptor monoclonal antibodies.

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Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center, 114 Rue Edouard Vaillant, 94800 Villejuif/Paris-Sud, France.


Programmed death-1 receptor (PD-1)/its ligand (PD-L1) antibodies have changed the landscape in oncology in 2013. The most mature results have been obtained in advanced melanoma patients. They indicate important response rates and high quality responses or prolonged duration. Also in renal cancer and in lung cancer remarkable activity has been demonstrated. Thus it is clear that these antibodies have a very broad potential and trials in many tumour types are being initiated. Breaking tolerance at the tumour site is a potent phenomenon and the potential for synergy with other checkpoint inhibitors such as ipilimumab have also been demonstrated in 2013. Long term tumour control now seems achievable and thus the concept of a clinical cure is emerging by modulation of the immune system. These antibodies bring immunotherapy to the forefront and indicate that immune-modulation will be a key component of therapeutic strategies from now on. Because of all these reasons PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies are considered 'drug of the year'.


Checkpoint inhibitors; Drug development; Immunotherapy; PD-1/PD-L1

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