Trial Watch: Immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies for oncological indications
Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
Molecular Targeted Therapy
Immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) differ from their tumor-targeting counterparts because they exert therapeutic effects by directly interacting with soluble or (most often) cellular components of the immune system. Besides holding promise for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, immunomodulatory mAbs have recently been shown to constitute a potent therapeutic weapon against neoplastic conditions. One class of immunomodulatory mAbs operates by inhibiting safeguard systems that are frequently harnessed by cancer cells to establish immunological tolerance, the so-called "immune checkpoints." No less than 3 checkpoint-blocking mAbs have been approved worldwide for use in oncological indications, 2 of which during the past 12 months. These molecules not only mediate single-agent clinical activity in patients affected by specific neoplasms, but also significantly boost the efficacy of several anticancer chemo-, radio- or immunotherapies. Here, we summarize recent advances in the development of checkpoint-blocking mAbs, as well as of immunomodulatory mAbs with distinct mechanisms of action.