Review Article

Immune Checkpoint Blockade: A New Paradigm in Treating Advanced Cancer

Kristen M. Kreamer, CRNP, MSN, AOCNP®, ANP-BC

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Author’s disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Kristen M. Kreamer, CRNP, MSN, AOCNP®, ANP-BC, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111. E-mail: Kristen.Kreamer@fccc.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2014;5:418–431 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2014.5.6.3 | © 2014 Harborside Press®


  

ABSTRACT

Abstract

The approval of the immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab for the treatment of advanced melanoma in 2011 spearheaded the development of other anticancer therapies with immune mechanisms of action, including other immune checkpoint inhibitors. Instead of acting directly on the tumor, these therapies work to “remove the brakes” on the immune system to restore antitumor immune responses. In addition to ipilimumab, which targets the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 pathway, several new drugs that target the programmed death-1 pathway are in phase III trials across tumor types, including melanoma, lung cancer, and renal cell carcinoma. In keeping with their unique mechanism of action, these immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown both conventional and unconventional response patterns, including initial apparent tumor progression followed by regression, and adverse events (AEs) that are likely immune-related. Advanced practitioners (APs) treating patients receiving immuno-oncology agents are in a key position to educate patients about expectations with these therapies and to screen patients for AEs and initiate appropriate and timely interventions. This review summarizes current immune checkpoint inhibitor data and provides patient management strategies for APs to optimize patient outcomes with these novel therapies.




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