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J Biomed Sci. 2017 May 25;24(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s12929-017-0341-0.

Cancer immunotherapy by targeting immune checkpoints: mechanism of T cell dysfunction in cancer immunity and new therapeutic targets.

Tsai HF1,2, Hsu PN3,4.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Medical University Shuang Ho Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan.
2
Gradute Institute of Clinical Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
3
Graduate Institute of Immunology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 1, Jen-Ai Rd, Taipei, 100, Taiwan. phsu8635@ntu.edu.tw.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. phsu8635@ntu.edu.tw.

Abstract

Immune checkpoints or coinhibitory receptors, such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4 and programmed death (PD)-1, play important roles in regulating T cell responses, and they were proven to be effective targets in treating cancer. In chronic viral infections and cancer, T cells are chronically exposed to persistent antigen stimulation. This is often associated with deterioration of T cell function with constitutive activation of immune checkpoints, a state called 'exhaustion', which is commonly associated with inefficient control of tumors and persistent viral infections. Immune checkpoint blockade can reinvigorate dysfunctional/exhausted T cells by restoring immunity to eliminate cancer or virus-infected cells. These immune checkpoint blocking antibodies have moved immunotherapy into a new era, and they represent paradigm-shifting therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. A clearer understanding of the regulatory roles of these receptors and elucidation of the mechanisms of T cell dysfunction will provide more insights for rational design and development of cancer therapies that target immune checkpoints. This article reviews recent advance(s) in molecular understanding of T cell dysfunction in tumor microenvironments. In addition, we also discuss new immune checkpoint targets in cancer therapy.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer immunotherapy; Immune checkpoint; New therapeutic targets; T cell exhaustion

PMID:
28545567
PMCID:
PMC5445514
DOI:
10.1186/s12929-017-0341-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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