Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 9, pp 2177–2179 | Cite as

Checkpoint Inhibitors: Conquering Cancer with a Little (T)-Help from Our Microbial Friends

  • Noelle Asmar
  • Tony IbrahimEmail author
  • Jean-François Rey

Checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) are a new class of drugs designed to block either the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) or the programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), which are used by cancer cells to evade host immune system. Blocking these proteins increases recognition of cancer cells by the immune system with consequent eradication by activated effector T cells [1]. CTLA4 and PD(L)1-directed monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are approved for the therapy of several types of cancers regardless of the patient’s age, based on the results of clinical trials. In addition to their effectiveness, these therapies are associated with serious adverse events that differ from those associated with conventional chemotherapy, since CPIs activate the immune system against the self [2].

The gut microbiota is considered a “hidden” organ, comprised of 1014organisms/gm feces composed primarily of the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes followed by Cyanobacteria, Fusobacteria, Actinobacteria,...


Gut microbiota Cancer immunotherapy Checkpoint inhibitors Anti-PD(L) 1 Anti-CTLA-4 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare regarding this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noelle Asmar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tony Ibrahim
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jean-François Rey
    • 1
  1. 1.Gastroenterology and Endoscopy DepartmentArnault Tzanck InstituteSaint-Laurent du VarFrance
  2. 2.Gastroenterology Department, Faculty of MedicineSaint Joseph UniversityBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Hematology-Oncology Department, Faculty of MedicineSaint Joseph UniversityBeirutLebanon
  4. 4.Medical Oncology DepartmentGustave Roussy InstituteVillejuifFrance

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