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Immuno-oncology is a rapidly evolving field. Within just a few years, immunotherapy has been approved as an important treatment option for patients across many cancer types. It is likely that we are still at the beginning of this revolution, which is changing the lives of our patients. Never before has a new treatment paradigm had such an impact on survival – even for cancer types that seemed incurable, we now see long-term remission extending to the metastatic setting.

I see immunotherapy moving in several directions. First, combination therapies are being studied in several clinical trials over many disease types. In order to be successful, we need to understand the defects in the tumour microenvironment that need to be overcome by the therapy, requiring in-depth and large-scale biomarker research. Second, immunotherapy is moving from the palliative to the curative setting, resulting in more patients being treated.

In this handbook, specialists in the field have covered many aspects of immuno-oncology, from basic immunology to the current state-of-the-art clinical immunotherapy in different disease types, including management of immune-related toxicities. This comprehensive overview provides a strong base to understand the theory, mechanisms of action, clinical developments and the future of immuno-oncology, and, therefore, is a ‘must read’ for any professional involved in the care of cancer patients.

John B.A.G. Haanen, MD PhD
The Netherlands Cancer Institute
Amsterdam, Netherlands

1.1 Immune Checkpoints

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