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Beyond PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibition: What the Future Holds for Breast Cancer Immunotherapy

Department of Oncology - Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 628;
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signaling Pathways and Immune Checkpoint Regulation in Cancer)
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Cancer immunotherapy has altered the management of human malignancies, improving outcomes in an expanding list of diseases. Breast cancer - presumably due to its perceived low immunogenicity - is a late addition to this list. Furthermore, most of the focus has been on the triple negative subtype because of its higher tumor mutational load and lymphocyte-enriched stroma, although emerging data show promise on the other breast cancer subtypes as well. To this point the clinical use of immunotherapy is limited to the inhibition of two immune checkpoints, Programmed Cell Death Protein 1 (PD-1) and Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated Protein 4 (CTLA-4). Consistent with the complexity of the regulation of the tumor – host interactions and their lack of reliance on a single regulatory pathway, combinatory approaches have shown improved efficacy albeit at the cost of increased toxicity. Beyond those two checkpoints though, a large number of co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory molecules play major roles on tumor evasion from immunosurveillance. These molecules likely represent future targets of immunotherapy provided that the promise shown in early data is translated into improved patient survival in randomized trials. The biological role, prognostic and predictive implications regarding breast cancer and early clinical efforts on exploiting these immune-related therapeutic targets are herein reviewed. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast cancer; checkpoint inhibitors; co-stimulatory; immunotherapy; novel targets; PD-1; PD-L1 breast cancer; checkpoint inhibitors; co-stimulatory; immunotherapy; novel targets; PD-1; PD-L1

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Chrétien, S.; Zerdes, I.; Bergh, J.; Matikas, A.; Foukakis, T. Beyond PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibition: What the Future Holds for Breast Cancer Immunotherapy. Cancers 2019, 11, 628.

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