Targeting immune checkpoints in malignant glioma

Xuhao Zhang, Shan Zhu, Tete Li, Yong-Jun Liu, Wei Chen and Jingtao Chen _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:7157-7174. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12702

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Xuhao Zhang1,*, Shan Zhu1,*, Tete Li1, Yong-Jun Liu1,2, Wei Chen3 and Jingtao Chen1

1 Institute of Translational Medicine, The First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, China

2 Sanofi Research and Development, Cambridge, MA, USA

3 ADC Biomedical Research Institute, Saint Paul, MN, USA

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jingtao Chen, email:

Keywords: PD-1/PD-L1, CTLA-4, IDO, malignant glioma, immunotherapy

Received: May 14, 2016 Accepted: October 12, 2016 Published: October 16, 2016


Malignant glioma is the most common and a highly aggressive cancer in the central nervous system (CNS). Cancer immunotherapy, strategies to boost the body’s anti-cancer immune responses instead of directly targeting tumor cells, recently achieved great success in treating several human solid tumors. Although once considered “immune privileged” and devoid of normal immunological functions, CNS is now considered a promising target for cancer immunotherapy, featuring the recent progresses in neurobiology and neuroimmunology and a highly immunosuppressive state in malignant glioma. In this review, we focus on immune checkpoint inhibitors, specifically, antagonizing monoclonal antibodies for programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). We discuss advances in the working mechanisms of these immune checkpoint molecules, their status in malignant glioma, and current preclinical and clinical trials targeting these molecules in malignant glioma.

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