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Efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy or combined with other small molecule-targeted agents in ovarian cancer

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 January 2023

Munawaer Muaibati
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Abasi Abuduyilimu
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Tao Zhang
Reproductive Medicine Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Yun Dai
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Ruyuan Li
Department of Gynecology and Oncology, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
Fanwei Huang
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Kexin Li
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Qing Tong
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Xiaoyuan Huang
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Liang Zhuang*
Cancer Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
Author for correspondence: Liang Zhuang, E-mail:


Ovarian cancer is the most lethal female reproductive system tumour. Despite the great advances in surgery and systemic chemotherapy over the past two decades, almost all patients in stages III and IV relapse and develop resistance to chemotherapy after first-line treatment. Ovarian cancer has an extraordinarily complex immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment in which immune checkpoints negatively regulate T cells activation and weaken antitumour immune responses by delivering immunosuppressive signals. Therefore, inhibition of immune checkpoints can break down the state of immunosuppression. Indeed, Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionised the therapeutic landscape of many solid tumours. However, ICIs have yielded modest benefits in ovarian cancer. Therefore, a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanistic basis of the immune checkpoints is needed to improve the efficacy of ICIs in ovarian cancer. In this review, we systematically introduce the mechanisms and expression of immune checkpoints in ovarian cancer. Moreover, this review summarises recent updates regarding ICI monotherapy or combined with other small-molecule-targeted agents in ovarian cancer.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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