1. Department of Geriatrics, The First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, 110001, China.
2. Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, 21224, USA
3. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Basic Medical Sciences of China Medical University Shenyang, 110022, P.R. China.
Cancers are being frequently diagnosed in the elderly. Immunosenescence which refers to the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement, has been the key cross center in the increasing frequency and severity of cancer, aging and immunity. Monoclonal antibodies targeting immune checkpoint molecules CTLA-4, PD-1 or PD-L1 are the promising anticancer therapeutics in multiple cancer subtypes generating remarkable and long-lasting clinical responses. These immune checkpoint blockers (ICBs)have already obtained approval for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma, advanced/refractory non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell cancer. ICBs can not only enhance immune responses against cancer cells but can also lead to inflammatory side effects called immune-related adverse events (irAEs). As none or only a small number of older patients were enrolled in most ICBs studies, it remains difficult to confirm the impacts of ICBs on the elderly. We could expect that clinical specificity of older patients (co-medications, comorbidities and reduced functional reserve) and immunosenescence may affect the efficacy of ICBs and tolerance in this population. However, the results from meta-analysis on the efficacy of ICBs are very encouraging and suggesting that the older patients will benefit from the ICBs revolution in oncology without increased toxicity.
Keywords: Aging, Cancer, Immunity, Immunosenescence, Immunotherapy