Current issues and perspectives in PD-1 blockade cancer immunotherapy

Int J Clin Oncol. 2020 May;25(5):790-800. doi: 10.1007/s10147-019-01588-7. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) signal receptor blockade has revolutionized the field of cancer therapy. Despite their considerable potential for treating certain cancers, drugs targeting PD-1 still present two main drawbacks: the substantial number of unresponsive patients and/or patients showing recurrences, and side effects associated with the autoimmune response. These drawbacks highlight the need for further investigation of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects, as well as the need to develop novel biomarkers to predict the lack of treatment response and to monitor potential adverse events. Combination therapy is a promising approach to improve the efficacy of PD-1 blockade therapy. Considering the increasing number of patients with cancer worldwide, solving the above issues is central to the field of cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss these issues and clinical perspectives associated with PD-1 blockade cancer immunotherapy.

Keywords: Biomarker; Combination therapy; Immune checkpoint inhibitor; Immune metabolism; Immune-related adverse event.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / pharmacology
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • CTLA-4 Antigen / immunology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD274 protein, human
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • PDCD1 protein, human
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor