Programmed death-1 & its ligands: Promising targets for cancer immunotherapy

Rajeev K. Shrimali, John E. Janik, Rasha Abu-Eid, Mikayel Mkrtichyan, Samir N. Khleif

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Novel strategies for cancer treatment involving blockade of immune inhibitors have shown significant progress toward understanding the molecular mechanism of tumor immune evasion. The preclinical findings and clinical responses associated with programmed death-1 (PD-1) and PD-ligand pathway blockade seem promising, making these targets highly sought for cancer immunotherapy. In fact, the anti-PD-1 antibodies, pembrolizumab and nivolumab, were recently approved by the US FDA for the treatment of unresectable and metastatic melanoma resistant to anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 antibody (ipilimumab) and BRAF inhibitor. Here, we discuss strategies of combining PD-1/PD-ligand interaction inhibitors with other immune checkpoint modulators and standard-of-care therapy to break immune tolerance and induce a potent antitumor activity, which is currently a research area of key scientific pursuit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-792
Number of pages16
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • PD-1 receptor
  • PD-L1
  • PD-ligands
  • combination cancer immunotherapy
  • immune escape
  • immune inhibitory pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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