Checkpoints keep the immune system under control. But they can also keep the immune system from seeing and killing cancer cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are cancer therapies that block these checkpoints, allowing the immune system to kill cancer cells.
To date, one checkpoint inhibitor has been approved to treat breast cancer. This drug, atezolizumab (Tecentriq®) is approved for use in combination with the chemotherapy drug nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane®) as a first-line treatment for locally advanced (some stage III) or metastatic (stage IV) triple-negative breast cancer that tests positive for the PD-L1 protein. Other checkpoint inhibitors that are being studied in breast cancer or that have been approved to treat other types of cancers work by blocking the checkpoint proteins called PD-1 and CTLA-4.
Below you will find articles that discuss immune checkpoint inhibitors in general and Tecentriq’s approval. You can also find a link to a list of clinical trials studying checkpoint inhibitors in metastatic breast cancer.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors
- NCI: Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
- American Cancer Society: Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Their Side Effects
Atezolizumab, the first immune checkpoint inhibitor approved for MBC
Clinical trials on check-point inhibitors:
- BreastCancerTrials.org: MBC Clinical Trials Studying Checkpoint Inhibitors