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J Geriatr Oncol. 2017 May;8(3):229-235. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2017.02.001. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

Immunotherapy comes of age: Immune aging & checkpoint inhibitors.

Author information

1
Section of Hematology Oncology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; Section of Geriatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address: raelias@bu.edu.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA.
4
Section of Hematology Oncology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are based on the understanding that there are multilayered checks and balances which can be manipulated to unleash already existing, but paralyzed, immune responses to cancer. These agents are safer and more efficacious than classic cytotoxic drugs making them a very attractive therapeutic option, especially in older adults. Current available data do not suggest significant age-associated differences in the clinical profile of ICIs. It must be noted, however, that there is still relatively little information on the use of ICIs in adults over 75years of age and aging is associated with a decline in the immune system or "immunosenescence" which theoretically can reduce the efficacy of these immune based therapies. In this paper, we review the mechanism of action of ICIs, current clinical data on their use in older adults, and age-associated immune changes that might have a direct impact on their activity in this population. We chose to focus on mainly adaptive cellular immunity, and especially on components of the immune system that are implicated directly in the immune checkpoint process.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Immune aging; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Immunosenescence; Immunotherapy; Older adults

PMID:
28223073
DOI:
10.1016/j.jgo.2017.02.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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