Checkpoint blockade in combination with cancer vaccines.
Checkpoint blockade, prevention of inhibitory signaling that limits activation or function of tumor antigen-specific T cells responses, is revolutionizing the treatment of many poor prognosis malignancies. Indeed monoclonal antibodies that modulate signaling through the inhibitory molecules CTLA-4 and PD-1 are now clinically available; however, many tumors, demonstrate minimal response suggesting the need for combinations with other therapeutic strategies. Because an inadequate frequency of activated tumor antigen-specific T cells in the tumor environment, the so-called non-inflamed phenotype, is observed in some malignancies, other rationale partners are modalities that lead to enhanced T cell activation (vaccines, cytokines, toll-like receptor agonists, and other anticancer therapies such as chemo-, radio- or targeted therapies that lead to release of antigen from tumors). This review will focus on preclinical and clinical data supporting the use of cancer vaccines with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies. Preliminary preclinical data demonstrate enhanced antitumor activity although the results in human studies are less clear. Broader combinations of multiple immune modulators are now under study.
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