Human tumor antigens for cancer vaccine development

Immunol Rev. 1999 Aug;170:85-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1999.tb01331.x.


The adoptive transfer of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) along with interleukin (IL)-2 into autologous patients with cancer resulted in the objective regression of tumor, indicating that T cells play an important role in tumor regression. In the last few years, efforts have been made towards understanding the molecular basis of T-cell-mediated antitumor immunity and elucidating the molecular nature of tumor antigens recognized by T cells. Tumor antigens identified thus far could be classified into several categories: tissue-specific differentiation antigens, tumor-specific shared antigens and tumor-specific unique antigens. CD4+ T cells play a central role in orchestrating the host immune response against cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases, and we thus have attempted to identify major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-restricted tumor antigens as well. The identification of tumor rejection antigens provides new opportunities for the development of therapeutic strategies against cancer. This review will summarize the current status of MHC class I- and class II-restricted human tumor antigens, and their potential application to cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Neoplasm* / genetics
  • Cancer Vaccines* / genetics
  • Cancer Vaccines* / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology
  • Melanosomes / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Epitopes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Peptides