Next-generation immunotherapy for solid tumors: combination immunotherapy with crosstalk blockade of TGFβ and PD-1/PD-L1.


In solid tumor immunotherapy, less than 20% of patients respond to anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) agents. The role of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) in diverse immunity is well-established; however, systemic blockade of TGFβ is associated with toxicity. Accumulating evidence suggests the role of crosstalk between TGFβ and PD-1/PD-L1 pathways.

We focus on TGFβ and PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway crosstalk and the determinant role of TGFβ in the resistance of immune checkpoint blockade. We provide the rationale for combination anti-TGFβ and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies for solid tumors and discuss the current status of dual blockade therapy in preclinical and clinical studies.

The heterogeneity of tumor microenvironment across solid tumors complicates patient selection, treatment regimens, and response and toxicity assessment for investigation of dual blockade agents. However, clinical knowledge from single-agent studies provides infrastructure to translate dual blockade therapies. Dual TGFβ and PD-1/PD-L1 blockade results in enhanced T-cell infiltration into tumors, a primary requisite for successful immunotherapy. A bifunctional fusion protein specifically targets TGFβ in the tumor microenvironment, avoiding systemic toxicity, and prevents interaction of PD-1+ cytotoxic cells with PD-L1+ tumor cells.

  • Adusumilli PS
  • Amador-Molina A
  • Bellis RY
  • Hou Z
  • Quach HT
  • Saini JK
  • Xiong Y
PubMed ID
Appears In
Expert Opin Investig Drugs, 2022, 31 (11)