Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in 10 Years: Contribution of Basic Research and Clinical Application in Cancer Immunotherapy

Jii Bum Lee, Hye Ryun Kim, Sang Jun Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Targeting immune evasion via immune checkpoint pathways has changed the treatment paradigm in cancer. Since CTLA-4 antibody was first approved in 2011 for treatment of metastatic melanoma, eight immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) centered on PD-1 pathway blockade are approved and currently administered to treat 18 different types of cancers. The first part of the review focuses on the history of CTLA-4 and PD-1 discovery and the preclinical experiments that demonstrated the possibility of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 as anti-cancer therapeutics. The approval process of clinical trials and clinical utility of ICIs are described, specifically focusing on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in which immunotherapies are most actively applied. Additionally, this review covers the combination therapy and novel ICIs currently under investigation in NSCLC. Although ICIs are now key pivotal cancer therapy option in clinical settings, they show inconsistent therapeutic efficacy and limited responsiveness. Thus, newly proposed action mechanism to overcome the limitations of ICIs in a near future are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2
JournalImmune Network
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2021R1I1A1A0105744 to J.B.L.; 2019M3A9B6065231, 2017M3A9E9072669, and 2021R1A2C2094629 to H-R.K.; 2017R1A5A1014560 and 2019M3A9B6065221 to S-J.H.). This study was also supported by Korea Drug Development Fund funded by Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and Ministry of Health and Welfare (HN21C1410).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Korean Association of Immunologists.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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