Using the body's immune system to help fight cancer

AZ Leadership in Immuno-Oncology

The promise of Immuno-Oncology (IO) is based on the knowledge that the immune system is constantly searching for, assessing, and eliminating foreign particles from the body.1,2 Yet, sometimes rogue cells slip past this immune surveillance and become cancers.2 By providing the immune system with tools to both unmask tumours and strengthen our body’s ability to attack harmful cells, IO therapies enable the immune system to recognize and respond. 1,3

AstraZeneca’s IO portfolio is anchored by immunotherapies that have been designed to overcome the tumour’s efforts to evade the immune system, such as through the targeted inhibition of immune checkpoints, and through the scientifically driven combination of multiple immune system-stimulating agents, including chemotherapies, small molecules, and other immunotherapies.  4,5,6

AstraZeneca is an industry leader in the development of biologics and our broad pipeline has been developed to deliver a portfolio of breakthrough IO therapies across multiple tumour types, in different stages of disease, and in multiple lines of therapy.7

Bringing the Benefit of IO to the Right Patients

Success in IO will hinge on the ability to identify which therapy may be best for each patient. AstraZeneca is leading the field in this area, delivering the first cross-industry data sets to enable the right treatment decisions to be made for patients.8,9 This is increasingly important when several treatment options are available for a single patient population. 10,11


1. Melero I et al. Clinical development of immunostimulatory monoclonal antibodies and opportunities for combination. Clin Cancer Res 2013; 19: 997-100
2. Finn O. Immuno-oncology: understanding the function and dysfunction of the immune system in cancer. Annals of Oncology 23 (Supplement 8): viii6-viii9, 2012 
3. Eggermont A and Finn O. Advances in immuno-oncology. Annals of Oncology 23 (Supplement 8 Foreword): viii5, 2012
4. Durvalumab+/- Tremelimumab in Combination With Platinum Based Chemotherapy in Untreated Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer (Caspian). Available at Last accessed March 2018
5. Clinical Trials,gov. A Phase I/II Study of MEDI4736 in Combination With Olaparib in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors. (MEDIOLA). Available at: Last accessed May 2017
6. Phase III Open Label First Line Therapy Study of MEDI 4736 (Durvalumab) With or Without Tremelimumab Versus SOC in Non Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). (MYSTIC). Available at: Last accessed March 2018
7. AstraZeneca. Clinical trials appendix. Full-year and Q4 2017 Results Update. Available at: Last accessed March 2018.
8. Ratcliff M et al. A comparative study of PDL1 diagnostic assays in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). ESMO 2016 Poster. Presented October 2016.

9. Antonia S, et al. Safety and antitumor activity of durvalumab plus tremelimumab in non-small cell lung cancer: a multicentre, phase 1b study. Lancet Oncol. 2016;17:299-308.
10. Patel S and R Kurzrock R. PD-L1 Expression as a Predictive Biomarker in Cancer Immunotherapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 14:  847-856. Published Online First 18 February 2015. doi:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-14-098