Acquired Resistance to PD-1/PD-L1 Blockade in Lung Cancer: Mechanisms and Patterns of Failure

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Dec 20;12(12):3851. doi: 10.3390/cancers12123851.


Immunotherapy is now the preferred treatment for most lung cancer patients. It is used to treat unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer and is the first-line therapy for non-oncogene-driven advanced/metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer patients (either alone or in combination with chemotherapy). Unfortunately, most patients that respond initially to immunotherapy develop resistance over time, thus limiting the durability of immunotherapy. A better understanding of the mechanisms of acquired resistance is urgently needed to expand the benefit of immunotherapy in lung cancer patients. This review aims to summarize the mechanisms and clinical outcomes of acquired resistance of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies in non-small-cell lung cancer patients.

Keywords: PD-1; PD-L1; acquired resistance; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Review