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Semin Oncol. 2014 Feb;41(1):126-32. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2013.12.014. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Immune checkpoint blockade: the hope for immunotherapy as a treatment of lung cancer?

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Department of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:


Over the past 20 years, immunotherapy has not played a role in the treatment of lung cancer outside of clinical trials. Early trials with vaccines yielded promising results, but phase III trials have yet to show an improvement in survival. Recently, immune checkpoint pathway inhibitors have yielded exciting and consistent activity across this class of antibodies. However, phase III trials are now ongoing. Currently, the hope of bringing immunotherapy to lung cancer patients lies in this class of drugs. Only time will show us if these antibodies will yield an improvement in long-term survival. This review will focus on checkpoint pathway inhibitors that have completed early-phase trials.

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