Checkpoint inhibition in myeloma.

Benson DM Jr
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2016 528-533 12/02/2016


Historically, attempts at cancer immunotherapy have emphasized strategies designed to stimulate or augment the immune system into action. In the past decade, a complementary approach has developed, that of releasing immune cells from inhibitory restraint. Discoveries in the fundamental biology of how immunity is regulated, how the immune system interfaces with malignancy, and how cancer cells may exploit these processes to evade detection have all been translated into the rapidly growing field of therapeutic immune checkpoint inhibition for cancer. Myeloma is a malignancy associated with significant immune dysfunction imparted both by the disease itself as well as by many of the immunosuppressive therapies that have been used in the past. The growing body of preclinical data regarding immunoregulatory mechanisms that appear active in myeloma has begun to be translated to clinical trials targeting these signaling axes. This review will attempt to summarize the current understanding of the basic biology of several immune checkpoint pathways that may be important in myeloma and provide an up-to-date overview of recent and ongoing clinical trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors in myeloma. Finally, several current challenges and possible future directions of immune checkpoint blockade in myeloma will be reviewed.

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