Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Biol Med. 2015 Jun;12(2):79-86. doi: 10.7497/j.issn.2095-3941.2015.0029.

Understanding the function and dysfunction of the immune system in lung cancer: the role of immune checkpoints.

Author information

1 Instituto Oncol├│gico Dr Rosell, Quiron Dexeus University Hospital, Barcelona 08028, Spain ; 2 Pangaea Biotech, Barcelona 08028, Spain ; 3 Medical Oncology Unit, Human Pathology Department, University of Messina, Messina 98122, Italy ; 4 Catalan Institute of Oncology, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona 08916, Spain ; 5 Molecular Oncology Research (MORe) Foundation, Barcelona 08028, Spain ; 6 Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Institute and Hospital, Campus Can Ruti 08916, Spain.


Survival rates for metastatic lung cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC), are poor with 5-year survivals of less than 5%. The immune system has an intricate and complex relationship with tumorigenesis; a groundswell of research on the immune system is leading to greater understanding of how cancer progresses and presenting new ways to halt disease progress. Due to the extraordinary power of the immune system-with its capacity for memory, exquisite specificity and central and universal role in human biology-immunotherapy has the potential to achieve complete, long-lasting remissions and cures, with few side effects for any cancer patient, regardless of cancer type. As a result, a range of cancer therapies are under development that work by turning our own immune cells against tumors. However deeper understanding of the complexity of immunomodulation by tumors is key to the development of effective immunotherapies, especially in lung cancer.


Lung cancer; immune checkpoint; immunotherapy; program death-1 (PD-1); program death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center