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      Soluble immune checkpoints in cancer: production, function and biological significance


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          Immune checkpoints play important roles in immune regulation, and blocking immune checkpoints on the cell membrane is a promising strategy in the treatment of cancer. Based on this, monoclonal antibodies are having much rapid development, such as those against CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4) and PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1).But the cost of preparation of monoclonal antibodies is too high and the therapeutic effect is still under restrictions. Recently, a series of soluble immune checkpoints have been found such as sCTLA-4 (soluble CTLA-4) and sPD-1 (soluble PD-1). They are functional parts of membrane immune checkpoints produced in different ways and can be secreted by immune cells. Moreover, these soluble checkpoints can diffuse in the serum. Much evidence has demonstrated that these soluble checkpoints are involved in positive or negative immune regulation and that changes in their plasma levels affect the development, prognosis and treatment of cancer. Since they are endogenous molecules, they will not induce immunological rejection in human beings, which might make up for the deficiencies of monoclonal antibodies and enhance the utility value of these molecules. Therefore, there is an increasing need for investigating novel soluble checkpoints and their functions, and it is promising to develop relevant therapies in the future. In this review, we describe the production mechanisms and functions of various soluble immune checkpoint receptors and ligands and discuss their biological significance in regard to biomarkers, potential candidate drugs, therapeutic targets, and other topics.

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          The blockade of immune checkpoints in cancer immunotherapy.

          Among the most promising approaches to activating therapeutic antitumour immunity is the blockade of immune checkpoints. Immune checkpoints refer to a plethora of inhibitory pathways hardwired into the immune system that are crucial for maintaining self-tolerance and modulating the duration and amplitude of physiological immune responses in peripheral tissues in order to minimize collateral tissue damage. It is now clear that tumours co-opt certain immune-checkpoint pathways as a major mechanism of immune resistance, particularly against T cells that are specific for tumour antigens. Because many of the immune checkpoints are initiated by ligand-receptor interactions, they can be readily blocked by antibodies or modulated by recombinant forms of ligands or receptors. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4) antibodies were the first of this class of immunotherapeutics to achieve US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Preliminary clinical findings with blockers of additional immune-checkpoint proteins, such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1), indicate broad and diverse opportunities to enhance antitumour immunity with the potential to produce durable clinical responses.
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            CTLA-4 and PD-1 Pathways

            Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.
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              The PD1:PD-L1/2 Pathway from Discovery to Clinical Implementation

              The immune system maintains a critically organized network to defend against foreign particles, while evading self-reactivity simultaneously. T lymphocytes function as effectors and play an important regulatory role to orchestrate the immune signals. Although central tolerance mechanism results in the removal of the most of the autoreactive T cells during thymic selection, a fraction of self-reactive lymphocytes escapes to the periphery and pose a threat to cause autoimmunity. The immune system evolved various mechanisms to constrain such autoreactive T cells and maintain peripheral tolerance, including T cell anergy, deletion, and suppression by regulatory T cells (TRegs). These effects are regulated by a complex network of stimulatory and inhibitory receptors expressed on T cells and their ligands, which deliver cell-to-cell signals that dictate the outcome of T cell encountering with cognate antigens. Among the inhibitory immune mediators, the pathway consisting of the programed cell death 1 (PD-1) receptor (CD279) and its ligands PD-L1 (B7-H1, CD274) and PD-L2 (B7-DC, CD273) plays an important role in the induction and maintenance of peripheral tolerance and for the maintenance of the stability and the integrity of T cells. However, the PD-1:PD-L1/L2 pathway also mediates potent inhibitory signals to hinder the proliferation and function of T effector cells and have inimical effects on antiviral and antitumor immunity. Therapeutic targeting of this pathway has resulted in successful enhancement of T cell immunity against viral pathogens and tumors. Here, we will provide a brief overview on the properties of the components of the PD-1 pathway, the signaling events regulated by PD-1 engagement, and their consequences on the function of T effector cells.

                Author and article information

                J Immunother Cancer
                J Immunother Cancer
                Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer
                BioMed Central (London )
                27 November 2018
                27 November 2018
                : 6
                : 132
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1760 6682, GRID grid.410570.7, Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Trauma, Burn and Combined Injury, Daping Hospital and Research Institute of Surgery, Third Military Medical University, ; Chongqing, 400042 People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1760 6682, GRID grid.410570.7, First Department, State Key Laboratory of Trauma, Burn and Combined Injury, Daping Hospital and Research Institute of Surgery, Third Military Medical University, ; Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
                Author information
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 8 August 2018
                : 12 November 2018
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China;
                Award ID: 81502434
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: the Precision Medicine Foundation of Chongqing
                Award ID: cstc2016shms-ztzx10006-7
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: the National Key R&D Program
                Award ID: 2018YFC1313400
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2018

                immune checkpoints,t cells,soluble receptors and ligands,immunotherapy,cancer


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