. 2019 Dec; 12(1):.
doi: 10.3390/cancers12010038.

Structure and Optimization of Checkpoint Inhibitors

Sarah L Picardo 1 Jeffrey Doi 2 Aaron R Hansen 1 
  • PMID: 31877721
  •     94 References
  •     13 citations


With the advent of checkpoint inhibitor treatment for various cancer types, the optimization of drug selection, pharmacokinetics and biomarker assays is an urgent and as yet unresolved dilemma for clinicians, pharmaceutical companies and researchers. Drugs which inhibit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein-4 (CTLA-4), such as ipilimumab and tremelimumab, programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), such as nivolumab and pembrolizumab, and programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1), such as atezolizumab, durvalumab and avelumab, each appear to have varying pharmacokinetics and clinical activity in different cancer types. Each drug differs in terms of dosing, which becomes an issue when drug comparisons are attempted. Here, we examine the various checkpoint inhibitors currently used and in development. We discuss the antibodies and their protein targets, their pharmacokinetics as measured in various tumor types, and their binding affinities to their respective antigens. We also examine the various dosing regimens for these drugs and how they differ. Finally, we examine new developments and methods to optimize delivery and efficacy in the field of checkpoint inhibitors, including non-fucosylation, prodrug formations, bispecific antibodies, and newer small molecule and peptide checkpoint inhibitors.

Keywords: checkpoint inhibitors 1; drug optimization 4; pharmacokinetics 3; protein structure 2.

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