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      The future of cancer treatment: immunomodulation, CARs and combination immunotherapy

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          Abstract

          In the past decade, advances in the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and adoptive cellular therapy to treat cancer by modulating the immune response have led to unprecedented responses in patients with advanced-stage tumours that would otherwise have been fatal. To date, three immune-checkpoint-blocking mAbs have been approved in the USA for the treatment of patients with several types of cancer, and more patients will benefit from immunomodulatory mAb therapy in the months and years ahead. Concurrently, the adoptive transfer of genetically modified lymphocytes to treat patients with haematological malignancies has yielded dramatic results, and we anticipate that this approach will rapidly become the standard of care for an increasing number of patients. In this Review, we highlight the latest advances in immunotherapy and discuss the role that it will have in the future of cancer treatment, including settings for which testing combination strategies and 'armoured' CAR T cells are recommended.

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          Most cited references 91

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          IFNgamma and lymphocytes prevent primary tumour development and shape tumour immunogenicity.

          Lymphocytes were originally thought to form the basis of a 'cancer immunosurveillance' process that protects immunocompetent hosts against primary tumour development, but this idea was largely abandoned when no differences in primary tumour development were found between athymic nude mice and syngeneic wild-type mice. However, subsequent observations that nude mice do not completely lack functional T cells and that two components of the immune system-IFNgamma and perforin-help to prevent tumour formation in mice have led to renewed interest in a tumour-suppressor role for the immune response. Here we show that lymphocytes and IFNgamma collaborate to protect against development of carcinogen-induced sarcomas and spontaneous epithelial carcinomas and also to select for tumour cells with reduced immunogenicity. The immune response thus functions as an effective extrinsic tumour-suppressor system. However, this process also leads to the immunoselection of tumour cells that are more capable of surviving in an immunocompetent host, which explains the apparent paradox of tumour formation in immunologically intact individuals.
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            Ipilimumab monotherapy in patients with pretreated advanced melanoma: a randomised, double-blind, multicentre, phase 2, dose-ranging study.

            Ipilimumab is a human monoclonal antibody that blocks cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 and has shown promising activity in advanced melanoma. We aimed to ascertain the antitumour efficacy of ipilimumab in patients with advanced melanoma. We undertook a randomised, double-blind, phase 2 trial in 66 centres from 12 countries. 217 patients with previously treated stage III (unresectable) or stage IV melanoma were randomly assigned a fixed dose of ipilimumab of either 10 mg/kg (n=73), 3 mg/kg (n=72), or 0.3 mg/kg (n=72) every 3 weeks for four cycles (induction) followed by maintenance therapy every 3 months. Randomisation was done with a permuted block procedure, stratified on the basis of type of previous treatment. The primary endpoint was best overall response rate (the proportion of patients with a complete or partial response, according to modified WHO criteria). Efficacy analyses were done by intention to treat, whereas safety analyses included patients who received at least one dose of ipilimumab. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00289640. The best overall response rate was 11.1% (95% CI 4.9-20.7) for 10 mg/kg, 4.2% (0.9-11.7) for 3 mg/kg, and 0% (0.0-4.9) for 0.3 mg/kg (p=0.0015; trend test). Immune-related adverse events of any grade arose in 50 of 71, 46 of 71, and 19 of 72 patients at doses of 10 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg, and 0.3 mg/kg, respectively; the most common grade 3-4 adverse events were gastrointestinal immune-related events (11 in the 10 mg/kg group, two in the 3 mg/kg group, none in the 0.3 mg/kg group) and diarrhoea (ten in the 10 mg/kg group, one in the 3 mg/kg group, none in the 0.3 mg/kg group). Ipilimumab elicited a dose-dependent effect on efficacy and safety measures in pretreated patients with advanced melanoma, lending support to further studies at a dose of 10 mg/kg. Bristol-Myers Squibb. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Suppression of antitumor immunity by stromal cells expressing fibroblast activation protein-alpha.

              The stromal microenvironment of tumors, which is a mixture of hematopoietic and mesenchymal cells, suppresses immune control of tumor growth. A stromal cell type that was first identified in human cancers expresses fibroblast activation protein-α (FAP). We created a transgenic mouse in which FAP-expressing cells can be ablated. Depletion of FAP-expressing cells, which made up only 2% of all tumor cells in established Lewis lung carcinomas, caused rapid hypoxic necrosis of both cancer and stromal cells in immunogenic tumors by a process involving interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α. Depleting FAP-expressing cells in a subcutaneous model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma also permitted immunological control of growth. Therefore, FAP-expressing cells are a nonredundant, immune-suppressive component of the tumor microenvironment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology
                Nat Rev Clin Oncol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1759-4774
                1759-4782
                May 2016
                March 15 2016
                May 2016
                : 13
                : 5
                : 273-290
                Article
                10.1038/nrclinonc.2016.25
                5551685
                26977780
                © 2016

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