Using chemotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors may reactivate tumors’ responses to immunotherapy, researchers concluded in a review article published in the Annals of Oncology.

The researchers evaluated data from preclinical studies and ongoing clinical trials, which showed that chemotherapy agents have immunostimulatory effects. When combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, and anti-CTLA-4, researchers believe that chemotherapy increases immunogenicity and T-cell infiltration, hinders immunosuppressive cells, and promotes effector cells.

Different chemotherapy agents affect the tumor microenvironment differently, the authors noted, so studies are needed to understand which agents are best suited for immunotherapy combination treatment.