Author: Li Shi
T-cell activation and dysfunction relies on direct and modulated receptors. Based on their functional outcome, co-signaling molecules can be divided as co-stimulators and co-inhibitors, which positively and negatively control the priming, growth, differentiation and functional maturation of a T-cell response. We are beginning to understand the power of co-inhibitors in the context of lymphocyte homeostasis and the pathogenesis of leukemia, which involves several newly described co-inhibitory pathways, including the programmed death-1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) pathway. The aim of this review is to summarize the PD-1 and PD-L1 biological functions and their alterative expression in hematological malignancies. The role of PD-1 and PD-L1 in T-cell immune suppression and the potential for immunotherapy via blocking PD-1 and PD-L1 in hematological malignancies are also reviewed.