Edoardo Crimini, Luca Boscolo Bielo, Pier Paolo Maria Berton Giachetti, Gloria Pellizzari, Gabriele Antonarelli, Beatrice Taurelli Salimbeni, Matteo Repetto, Carmen Belli, Giuseppe Curigliano

Beyond PD(L)-1 Blockade in Microsatellite-Instable Cancers: Current Landscape of Immune Co-Inhibitory Receptor Targeting

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

High microsatellite instability (MSI-H) derives from genomic hypermutability due to deficient mismatch repair function. Colorectal (CRC) and endometrial cancers (EC) are the tumor types that more often present MSI-H. Anti-PD(L)-1 antibodies have been demonstrated to be agnostically effective in patients with MSI-H cancer, but 50–60% of them do not respond to single-agent treatment, highlighting the necessity of expanding their treatment opportunities. Ipilimumab (anti-CTLA4) is the only immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) non-targeting PD(L)-1 that has been approved so far by the FDA for MSI-H cancer, namely, CRC in combination with nivolumab. Anti-TIM3 antibody LY3321367 showed interesting clinical activity in combination with anti-PDL-1 antibody in patients with MSI-H cancer not previously treated with anti-PD(L)-1. In contrast, no clinical evidence is available for anti-LAG3, anti-TIGIT, anti-BTLA, anti-ICOS and anti-IDO1 antibodies in MSI-H cancers, but clinical trials are ongoing. Other immunotherapeutic strategies under study for MSI-H cancers include vaccines, systemic immunomodulators, STING agonists, PKM2 activators, T-cell immunotherapy, LAIR-1 immunosuppression reversal, IL5 superagonists, oncolytic viruses and IL12 partial agonists. In conclusion, several combination therapies of ICIs and novel strategies are emerging and may revolutionize the treatment paradigm of MSI-H patients in the future. A huge effort will be necessary to find reliable immune biomarkers to personalize therapeutical decisions.

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