Global Health & Medicine 2021;3(6):378-385.
Current status of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
Enomoto N, Yamada K, Terayama M, Kato D, Yagi S, Wake H, Takemura N, Kiyomatsu T, Kokudo N
Esophageal cancer is the seventh most common cancer, with an estimated 572,000 new cases, and the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in 2018 with 509,000 annual worldwide deaths. Advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of devastating tumors with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5% in patients with metastatic disease. Treatment options for patients with advanced ESCC are limited. Current guidelines recommend chemotherapy containing a platinum and a fluoropyrimidine agent as a first-line treatment. Recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), including nivolumab and pembrolizumab, have demonstrated antitumor activity and clinical efficacy in patients with advanced ESCC that is refractory or intolerant to first-line chemotherapy. ICIs are game-changers that not only transformed oncological strategy but also have a wide range of clinical potential in combination with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is still an urgent, unmet need for reliable treatment options to conquer this intractable disease.