Cancer immunotherapy of patients with HIV infection

Cancer immunotherapy of patients with HIV infection

Online publication: 17/11/2018 Journal: Clinical and Translational Oncology


Cancer immunotherapy with antibodies against immune checkpoints has made impressive advances in the last several years. The most relevant drugs target programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) expressed on T cells or its ligand, the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), expressed on cancer cells, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4). Unfortunately, cancer patients with HIV infection are usually excluded from cancer clinical trials, because there are concerns about the safety and the anti-tumoral activity of these novel therapies in patients with HIV infection. Several retrospective studies and some case reports now support the notion that antibodies against immune checkpoints are safe and active in cancer patients with HIV infection, but prospective data in these patients are lacking. In addition, signs of antiviral activity with increase in CD4 T cell counts, plasma viremia reduction or decrease in the viral reservoir have been reported in some of the patients treated, although no patient achieved a complete clearance of the viral reservoir. Here we briefly summarize all clinical cases reported in the literature, as well as ongoing clinical trials testing novel immunotherapy drugs in cancer patients with HIV infection.

Authors: Gonzalez-Cao M, Martinez-Picado J, Karachaliou N, Rosell R, Meyerhans A

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