LAG-3 (CD223) is a cell surface molecule expressed on activated T cells (Huard et al. Immunogenetics 39:213-217, 1994), NK cells (Triebel et al. J Exp Med 171:1393-1405, 1990), B cells (Kisielow et al. Eur J Immunol 35:2081-2088, 2005), and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (Workman et al. J Immunol 182:1885-1891, 2009) that plays an important but incompletely understood role in the function of these lymphocyte subsets. In addition, the interaction between LAG-3 and its major ligand, Class II MHC, is thought to play a role in modulating dendritic cell function (Andreae et al. J Immunol 168:3874-3880, 2002). Recent preclinical studies have documented a role for LAG-3 in CD8 T cell exhaustion (Blackburn et al. Nat Immunol 10:29-37, 2009), and blockade of the LAG-3/Class II interaction using a LAG-3 Ig fusion protein is being evaluated in a number of clinical trials in cancer patients. In this review, we will first discuss the basic structural and functional biology of LAG-3, followed by a review of preclinical and clinical data pertinent to a role for LAG-3 in cancer immunotherapy.
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