Immunologic approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer

Semin Oncol. 1999 Aug;26(4):439-47.


The presence of several organ-specific molecules that could serve as immunogens or targets of an immune attack, the nonessential nature of the prostate gland, the substantial failure rate after treatment of the primary tumor, and the lack of effective chemotherapy for metastatic disease make prostate cancer an ideal candidate for immunotherapy. This report reviews the current status of two novel approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer. The first is an effort to induce antitumor immunity by enriching the cytokine environment within the primary cancer by intraprostatic injection of Leukocyte Interleukin (Cel-Sci Corp, Vienna, VA), a mixture of natural cytokines that includes interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), IL-2, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). The second approach uses OncoVax-P (Jenner Biotherapies, Inc, San Ramon, CA), a vaccine consisting of liposome-encapsulated recombinant prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and lipid A. When administered as an emulsion or in association with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)/cyclophosphamide or GM-CSF with or without IL-2/cyclophosphamide, immunologic tolerance is broken as evidenced by the generation of humoral and cellular immunity. Both of these approaches have been shown to be feasible and safe, and are now being tested in patients with less advanced disease to determine if manipulation of the immune system can favorably influence clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Interleukins / therapeutic use*
  • Liposomes
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Interleukins
  • Liposomes