Checkpoint inhibition in advanced gastroesophageal cancer: clinical trial data, molecular subtyping, predictive biomarkers, and the potential of combination therapies

Jeremy Chuang, Joseph Chao, Andrew Hendifar, Samuel J. Klempner, Jun Gong


The development of checkpoint inhibitors has redefined the treatment paradigm for advanced gastroesophageal cancer. While recent developments have improved clinical outcomes, the prognosis for the disease remains meager. In this review, we discuss the rationale and detail the results from recent phase I-III trials supporting the activity of PD-1 inhibitors. Specifically, we highlight the seminal clinical trials leading to the FDA approval of pembrolizumab for advanced gastroesophageal cancer. Finally, we review the current understanding and future considerations of molecular subtyping and predictive biomarkers to help guide therapy and the promise of combination therapy to further improve the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors.