Immune checkpoint inhibition for the treatment of cancers: An update and critical review of ongoing clinical trials

Clin Immunol. 2021 Nov;232:108873. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2021.108873. Epub 2021 Oct 21.


Advances in Cancer immunotherapy in the past few years include the development of medications that modulate immune checkpoint proteins. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4), programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1), and programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) are three co-inhibitory receptors that are expressed in the tumor microenvironment. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) that target these biomarkers unleash the properties of effector T cells that are licensed to kill cancer cells. Immune checkpoint blockade has dramatically changed the treatment landscape of many cancers. In this Review, we describe the current data regarding clinical trials of ICIs in six important cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), renal cell cancer (RCC), hodgkin lymphoma (HL), non-hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and head and neck cancer carcinoma (HNSCC).

Keywords: Head and neck cancer carcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hodgkin lymphoma; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Non-hodgkin lymphoma; Non-small cell lung cancer; Renal cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors