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Molecular Pathways and Mechanisms of LAG-3 in Cancer Therapy.

Authors
  • Andrews, Lawrence P1
  • Cillo, Anthony R1
  • Karapetyan, Lilit1
  • Kirkwood, John M1
  • Workman, Creg J2
  • Vignali, Dario A A1
  • 1 University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. , (United States)
  • 2 University of Pittsburgh, United States. , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Clinical Cancer Research
Publisher
American Association for Cancer Research
Publication Date
May 17, 2022
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-2390
PMID: 35579997
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Immunotherapy targeting co-inhibitory receptors has been highly successful in treating a wide variety of malignancies, however only a subset of patients exhibits durable responses. The first FDA-approved immunotherapeutics targeting co-inhibitory receptors PD1 and CTLA4, alone or in combination, significantly improved survival but were also accompanied by substantial toxicity in combination. The third FDA-approved immune checkpoint inhibitor targets LAG3, a co-inhibitory receptor expressed on activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, especially in settings of long-term antigenic stimulation, such as chronic viral infection or cancer. Mechanistically, LAG3 expression limits both the expansion of activated T cells and the size of the memory pool, suggesting that LAG3 may be a promising target for immunotherapy. Importantly, the mechanism(s) by which LAG3 contributes to CD8+ T cell exhaustion may be distinct from those governed by PD1, indicating that the combination of anti-LAG3 and anti-PD1 may synergistically enhance antitumor immunity. Clinical studies evaluating the role of anti-LAG3 in combination with anti-PD1 are underway, and recent phase III trial results in metastatic melanoma demonstrate both the efficacy and safety of this combination. Further ongoing clinical trials are evaluating this combination across multiple tumor types and the adjuvant setting, with accompanying translational and biomarker-focused studies designed to elucidate the molecular pathways that lead to improved antitumor T cell responses following dual blockade of PD1 and LAG3. Overall, LAG3 plays an important role in limiting T cell activation and has now become part of the repertoire of combinatorial immunotherapeutics available for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

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