Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy for infectious diseases: Learning from the cancer paradigm

International Journal of Infectious DiseasesRao M, et al. | February 13, 2017

As per observations, anti–PD–1/PD–L1 therapy holds promise as adjunctive therapy for chronic infectious diseases such as TB and HIV. Therefore, the authors strongly recommend testing these findings in randomised clinical trials.



  • An online literature searches was performed via PubMed, PubMedCentral and Google using the keywords “immune checkpoint inhibition”, “host–directed therapy”, “T cell exhaustion”, “cancer immunotherapy”, “anti–PD–1 therapy”, “anti–PD–L1 therapy”, “chronic infections”, “antigen–specific cells”, “tuberculosis”, “malaria”, “viral infections”, “human immunodeficiency virus”, “hepatitis B virus”, “hepatitis C virus”, “cytomegalovirus” and “Epstein–Barr virus”.
  • The authors filtered the search results as per the relevance to the topics covered in this review.


  • The authors reviwed the use of monoclonal antibodies directed against the antigen–experienced T–cell marker programmed cell death 1 (PD–1) and its ligand PD–L1 in the context of chronic infectious diseases.
  • They also described the potential pitfalls and precautions, based on clinical experience from treating patients with cancer with PD–1/PD–L1 pathway inhibitors.

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