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04 2018 Expert opinion on therapeutic targets

Inducible Co-Stimulator (ICOS) as a potential therapeutic target for anti-cancer therapy.


Amatore F, Gorvel L, Olive D


The recent success of checkpoint-inhibitors in cancer treatment paved the way for the development of new strategies of agonist and antagonist agents against B7 superfamily members. Inducible Co-Stimulator (ICOS), a co-stimulatory receptor for T-cell enhancement, arouses interest. Areas covered: We performed an extensive literature search with PUBMED using the keywords ‘ICOS’ and ‘cancer’ to discuss its involvement in oncogenesis, its expression in different malignancies, and its targeting in relevant preclinical studies. We also searched the database for recent updates on early phase clinical trials. Expert opinion: ICOS/ICOSL axis has a dual effect and might participate in anti-tumour T cell response as well as a pro-tumour response due to its connection with regulatory T-cells (Tregs) suppressive activity. Therefore, both antagonist and agonist antibodies might be of interest in the targeting ICOS/ICOSL pathway for cancer treatment. In preclinical studies, ICOS agonist monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have shown to potentiate the effect of inhibitory checkpoint blockade. In contrast, antagonistic anti-ICOS mAbs could not only inhibit lymphoid tumour cells expressing ICOS, but also dampen immunosuppressive Tregs. Two agonist and one antagonist mAbs are evaluated in phase I/II trials. Efficacy, safety, and combination strategies with anti-ICOS agonist or antagonist have yet to be specified.

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