Targeting Co-Stimulatory Receptors of the TNF Superfamily for Cancer Immunotherapy
The clinical approval of immune checkpoint inhibitors is an important advancement in the field of cancer immunotherapy. However, the percentage of beneficiaries is still limited and it is becoming clear that combination therapies are required to further enhance the treatment efficacy. The potential of strategies targeting the immunoregulatory network by "hitting the gas pedal" as opposed to "blocking the brakes" is being recognized and intensively investigated. Hence, next to immune checkpoint inhibitors, agonists of co-stimulatory receptors of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily (TNF-SF) are emerging as promising options to expand the immunomodulatory toolbox. In this review the development of different categories of recombinant antibody and ligand-based agonists of 4-1BB, OX40, and GITR is summarized and discussed in the context of the challenges presented by the structural and mechanistical features of the TNFR-SF. An overview of current formats, trends, and clinical studies is provided.