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A Tale of Two Checkpoints: ATR Inhibition and PD-(L)1 Blockade

Natalie Y.L. Ngoi, Guang Peng, Timothy A. Yap
Published: 13 October 2021

Abstract: Innate immunity and the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway are inextricably linked. Within the DDR, ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) is a key kinase responsible for sensing replication stress and facilitating DNA repair through checkpoint activation, cell cycle arrest, and promotion of fork recovery. Recent studies have shed light on the immunomodulatory role of the ATR-CHK1 pathway in the tumor microenvironment and the specific effects of ATR inhibition in stimulating an innate immune response. With several potent and selective ATR inhibitors in developmental pipelines, the combination of dual ATR and PD-(L)1 blockade has attracted increasing interest in cancer therapy. In this review, we summarize the clinical and preclinical data supporting the combined inhibition of ATR and PD-(L)1, discuss the potential challenges surrounding this approach, and highlight biomarkers relevant for selected patients who are most likely to benefit from the blockade of these two checkpoints. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Medicine, Volume 73 is January 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
Keywords: innate immune / stress / inhibition of ATR and PD / DDR / blockade / two checkpoints

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