In recent years, immunotherapy has led to substantial advances in cancer therapy. In particular, the immune checkpoint inhibitors — PD-1/PD-L1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors — have revolutionized treatment for certain hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved immunotherapies for more than 15 cancer indications.
However, widespread use of immune checkpoint therapy to treat cancers is hampered by unpredictable response rates and immune-related adverse events. To address these challenges, combination therapies are increasingly being studied as a strategy for improving response and overcoming resistance. In this post, we provide an introduction to cancer immunotherapy, exploring its immunological basis and the fundamental principles guiding development of new treatments.