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Immunotherapy for Advanced Lung Cancer

Asmar, Ramsey MD*; Rizvi, Naiyer A. MD

doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000151

Lung cancers are immunogenic tumors that manage to evade the immune system by exploiting checkpoint pathways that render effector T cells anergic. Inhibition of these checkpoints can restore and invigorate endogenous antitumor T-cell responses. The immunotherapeutic approach of checkpoint inhibition has become an important treatment option for patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer, playing a role that will continue to evolve over the coming years. The programmed death 1 inhibitors nivolumab and pembrolizumab have both been shown to induce durable responses and improve survival in a subset of patients with platinum-refractory metastatic non–small cell lung cancer. Nivolumab has recently earned Food and Drug Administration approval for progressive squamous cell lung cancer. Optimization and validation of a pretreatment biomarker to predict response is a key area of ongoing research. Combination therapy is now being investigated in an effort to improve response rates.

From the *Division of Hematology/Oncology, Columbia University Medical Center; and †Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Reprints: Naiyer A. Rizvi, MD, Columbia University Medical Center 177 Fort Washington Ave New York, NY 10032. E-mail:

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.