Genetic alterations and epigenetic dysregulation in cancer cells create a vast array of neoepitopes potentially recognizable by the immune system. Immune checkpoint blockade has the capacity to enhance and sustain endogenous immunity against non-mutated tumor-associated antigens as well as uniquely mutant antigens, establishing durable tumor control. Recent evidence from preclinical models highlights the pivotal role of the Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) T cell co-receptor and its ligands, B7-H1/PD-L1 and B7-DC/PD-L2, in maintaining an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Encouraging early clinical results using blocking agents against components of the PD-1 pathway have validated its importance as a target for cancer immunotherapy.
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