Recent work with immunotherapy has shown promising results with treatment of several solid malignancies, and there are several reports of good systemic responses with the combination of immunotherapy and radiation therapy (RT), most notably in advanced melanoma. Given the rapid increase in the use of checkpoint blockade as well as anti-tumor vaccines, we review here the preclinical rationale and ongoing clinical work in combining immunotherapy with RT for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and thymic tumors. While there are several reports of promising results with the combination of immunotherapy and conventional systemic treatment, we focus here on the ongoing clinical studies that combine immunotherapy with RT, and highlight the emerging data for this multimodality approach as well as key preclinical and clinical issues that remain to be addressed. With regards to SCLC, trials exploring to the combination of immunotherapy and RT are already ongoing, but clinical studies for this combination in thymoma are lacking.
Keywords: Immunotherapy; radiation; small cell lung cancer (SCLC); thymoma.