The immune checkpoint PD-1 in natural killer cells: Expression, function and targeting in tumour immunotherapy

Linda Quatrini, Francesca Romana Mariotti, Enrico Munari, Nicola Tumino, Paola Vacca, Lorenzo Moretta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In the last years, immunotherapy with antibodies against programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has shown remarkable efficacy in the treatment of different types of tumours, representing a true revolution in oncology. While its efficacy has initially been attributed only to unleashing T cell responses, responsivity to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade was observed in some tumours with low Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) I expression and increasing evidence has revealed PD-1 surface expression and inhibitory function also in natural killer (NK) cells. Thus, the contribution of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy to the recovery of NK cell anti-tumour response has recently been appreciated. Here, we summarize the studies investigating PD-1 expression and function in NK cells, together with the limitations and perspectives of immunotherapies. A better understanding of checkpoint biology is needed to design next-generation therapeutic strategies and to improve the clinical protocols of current therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3285
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunotherapy
  • Inhibitory checkpoints
  • NK cells
  • PD-1
  • PD-L1
  • Soluble PD-1
  • Tumour microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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