Immunotherapy in lung cancer

Liza C. Villaruz*, Aparna Kalyan, Hassane Zarour, Mark A. Socinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Immunotherapy has emerged in recent years as a promising therapeutic approach in lung cancer. Two approaches are of particular interest: Immune checkpoint inhibition, which aims to counteract the physiologic mechanisms of immune tolerance co-opted by some tumors, and vaccine therapy, which enables enhanced exposure to tumor antigen. Immune checkpoint therapies include the monoclonal antibody blockade of the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) with ipilimumab, as well as antibody blockade of the programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) receptor and the PD-1 ligand. These immune checkpoint therapies have been evaluated in both non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with early evidence of activity. Vaccines include antigen specific therapies which induce specific antitumor immunity against relevant tumor-associated antigens. In lung cancer, these include the melanomaassociated antigen-A3 (MAGE-A3), membrane-associated glycoprotein (MUC-1), and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Whole tumor vaccines have also been evaluated in lung cancer and influence the patient's immune system to allow recognition of the tumor as foreign creating de novo immunity. This review summarizes the evidence to date for the efficacy and safety of immunotherapies in lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Immune checkpoint therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • Vaccine therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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