Immune Checkpoint Therapy and the Search for Predictive Biomarkers

Cancer J. Mar-Apr 2016;22(2):68-72. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000185.


Immune checkpoint therapy has started a revolution in the field of oncology. The concept that the immune system plays a critical role in antitumor responses, which has been around for decades, has finally been proven and firmly established with elegant preclinical studies and dramatic clinical responses in patients as a result of antibodies that block inhibitory T-cell pathways. However, the clinical responses being achieved are only in a subset of patients, and more work is needed to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that elicit tumor rejection, which will enable identification of appropriate biomarkers, reveal new targets, provide data to guide combination studies, and eventually dictate a platform that allows more patients to derive clinical benefit, including cures, with immune checkpoint therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Biomarkers*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • CTLA-4 Antigen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Translational Medical Research


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Biomarkers
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor