Immuno-targeted combinations in oncogene-addicted non-small cell lung cancer
The identification of tumor “oncogenic drivers” and the subsequent development of targeted therapy represented a milestone in the treatment of lung cancer over the last years. Tumor genotyping has been incorporated into therapeutic decision making of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) since has become clear that individuals with actionable molecular alterations receiving a matched targeted agent certainly live longer and better. The recent understanding of biological mechanisms underlying cancer immune evasion has allowed the development of a new class of immunomodulatory agents which are able to reactivate host immune-response, offering the potential for long-term disease control and survival in a significant subgroup of lung cancer patients. The complementary therapeutic effects of these two different approaches suggested intriguing potential for therapeutic synergy with combination strategies. Indeed, immunotherapy could consolidate the dramatic but transient tumor responses achieved with targeted therapy into long-term survival benefit, due to the induction of specific anti-tumor memory. However, the great emphasis and expectations linked to immune-targeted combinations have been mostly disappointed by the initial controversial results of early-phase trials, raising relevant concerns about the use of these combinations for lung cancer treatment. This review briefly summarizes the basis of immunogenicity and immune escape in oncogene addicted NSCLC, providing an updated overview of clinical trials, with the final aim of defining the current unmet needs of immuno-targeted combinations in clinical practice.