Chemotherapy: friend or foe to cancer vaccines?

Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2001 Feb;3(1):77-84.


Cancer vaccines are on the threshold of taking their place alongside the more traditional cancer treatment modalities of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The toxicology and immunopharmacology of therapeutic cancer vaccines, particularly those that secrete granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), are currently under active clinical investigation. Interestingly, drugs traditionally used for tumor cytoreduction can have both positive and negative effects on host immunity. Exploration of the potential pharmacodynamic interactions of antineoplastic drugs with GM-CSF-secreting vaccines has revealed that low doses of some chemotherapeutics can augment the antitumor immunity induced by GM-CSF-secreting vaccines. These interactions will require thorough preclinical evaluation to maximize the clinical impact of this type of therapeutic cancer vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cancer Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / adverse effects
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Doxorubicin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Paclitaxel