During the past decade, new insights into the mechanisms by which T-cell activation and proliferation are regulated have led to the identification of checkpoint proteins that either up- or down-modulate T-cell reactivity. In the presence of active malignancy, pathophysiologic inhibition of T-cell activity may predominate over stimulation. A number of antibodies have been generated that can block inhibitory checkpoint proteins or promote the activity of activating molecules. In murine models, their use alone or with a vaccine strategy has resulted in regression of poorly immunogenic tumors and cures of established tumors. The prototypical immune regulatory antibodies are those directed against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4, a molecule present on activated T cells. In this review, the preclinical rationale and clinical experience with 2 anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 antibodies are extensively discussed, demonstrating that abrogation of an immune inhibitory molecule can result in significant regression of tumors and long-lasting responses. The unique kinetics of antitumor response and the characteristic immune-related side effects of ipilimumab are also discussed. This clinical efficacy of this promising antitumor agent has been evaluated in 2 randomized phase III trials, whose results are eagerly awaited. Programmed death (PD)-1 is another immune inhibitory molecule against which an abrogating human antibody has been prepared. Initial preclinical testing with anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 has shown encouraging results. Stimulatory molecules such as CD40, 41-BB, and OX-40 are also targets for antibody binding and activation, not blockade, and early dose ranging trials with antibodies against all 3 have shown that they can mediate regression of tumors, albeit with their own spectrum of side effects that are different from those that occur with abrogation of immune inhibition.