CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 2021; 81(10): 1128-1144
DOI: 10.1055/a-1475-4335
GebFra Science

Immunology and Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Ovarian Cancer – Current Aspects

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Holger Bronger
1  Klinik und Poliklinik für Frauenheilkunde, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, München, Germany
2  Deutsches Konsortium für Translationale Krebsforschung (DKTK), Partnerstandort München und Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
› Author Affiliations


In the last decade immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) against the PD-1/PD-L1 system have revolutionised the treatment of numerous entities. To date, ovarian cancer has benefited very little from this success story. Possible causes include a rather low mutational burden compared to other tumour types, inadequate presentation of (neo-)antigens, and increased infiltration with immunosuppressive immune cells such as regulatory T cells and tumour-associated macrophages. In the clinical trials completed to date, the response rates to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors have therefore been disappointingly low as well, although isolated long-term remissions have also been observed in ovarian cancer. The task now is to find suitable predictive biomarkers as well as to identify combination partners for ICB therapy that can increase the immunogenicity of ovarian cancer or overcome immunosuppressive resistance mechanisms. This paper provides an overview of the immune milieu in ovarian cancer, its impact on the effect of ICB, and summarises the clinical trial data available to date on ICB in ovarian cancer.

Publication History

Received: 24 January 2021

Accepted after revision: 05 April 2021

Publication Date:
06 July 2021 (online)

© 2021. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commecial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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