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The general immune landscape of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) renders immunotherapy suitable for patients with NPC. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) based on programmed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) blockade have made a breakthrough with the approval of PD-1 inhibitor for refractory recurrence and/or metastatic (R/M NPC) and the approval of PD-1 inhibitor in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin as first line for R/M NPC in 2021 in China. The incorporation of ICIs into the treatment paradigms of NPC has become a clinical hot spot and many prospective clinical studies are ongoing. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the rationale for immunotherapy in NPC and current status, advances and challenges of immunotherapy in NPC based on published clinical data, and ongoing trials. We focus on the clinical application and advances of PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy and its combination with chemotherapy and summarize the clinical explorations of other immunotherapy approaches, for example, combination of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors with antiangiogenic inhibitor with molecular targeted agents, cancer vaccines, adaptive immunotherapy, and new ICI agents beyond PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in R/M NPC. We also describe the clinical studies’ status and challenges of ICIs-based immunomodulatory strategies in local advanced NPC and pay attention to the biomarker application for personalized immunotherapy of NPC in the hope to provide insights for clinical practice and future clinical studies.
Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology – SAGE
Published: May 7, 2022
Keywords: Immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; nasopharyngeal carcinoma
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