Immunotherapies targeting stimulatory pathways and beyond

Julian A. Marin-Acevedo, Erin Marie O. Kimbrough, Rami Manochakian, Yujie Zhao, Yanyan Lou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory molecules play a critical role in T cell function. Tumor cells escape immune surveillance by promoting immunosuppression. Immunotherapy targeting inhibitory molecules like anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 were developed to overcome these immunosuppressive effects. These agents have demonstrated remarkable, durable responses in a small subset of patients. The other mechanisms for enhancing anti-tumor activities are to target the stimulatory pathways that are expressed on T cells or other immune cells. In this review, we summarize current phase I/II clinical trials evaluating novel immunotherapies targeting stimulatory pathways and outline their advantages, limitations, and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number78
JournalJournal of Hematology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cancer
  • Co-stimulatory pathway
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • Immune checkpoint
  • Immune evasion
  • Immunotherapy
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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