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Immune checkpoint blockade in hematologic malignancies

Philippe Armand

Abstract

Therapeutic blockade of immune checkpoint pathways, in particular cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein 4 and programmed-death 1 (PD-1), has become a paradigm-shifting treatment in solid tumor oncology. Hematologic malignancies (HMs), many of which are known to have clinically exploitable immune sensitivity, are a natural target for this type of treatment. Several clinical trials of checkpoint blockade have been conducted in HM, with preliminary results suggesting the therapeutic usefulness of this approach across several tumor types. In particular, the results of PD-1 blockade in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) are remarkable, and raise hope that it may alter the treatment landscape in this disease. However, numerous questions remain about the optimal role of checkpoint blockade both in HL and beyond. Those questions are the focus of this review, in the hope that, if we are at the dawn of a new day in HM immunotherapy, we may begin to envision its morning.

  • Submitted February 10, 2015.
  • Accepted March 25, 2015.
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